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Nickel Caps Biggest Weekly Gain Since September on China

Nickel rose, capping the largest weekly gain since September, amid indications that economies are reviving in the U.S. and China, the world’s biggest user. Copper and aluminum also advanced.

Chinese manufacturing expanded for a fourth month in January, a purchasing managers’ index released today by the country’s statistics bureau and its logistics federation showed. In the U.S., manufacturing grew more than forecast last month and hiring increased, separate reports showed today. The LMEX gauge of six industrial metals climbed 3 percent in January, the second gain in three months.

Metals prices have “tendencies to go higher as we see more and more positive data,” Harry Denny, a broker at Hoboken, New Jersey-based PVM Future Inc., said in a telephone interview.

Nickel for delivery in three months climbed 1.6 percent to settle at $18,625 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange at 7:51 p.m. local time. Prices are up 7.2 percent this week, the most since the week ended Sept. 14.

Copper futures for delivery in March rose 1.4 percent to $3.7845 a pound on the Comex in New York. The metal for delivery in three months advanced 1.5 percent to $8,290 a ton ($3.76 a pound) on the LME.

Traders are the most bullish on copper in 15 months on mounting confidence that the U.S. economy will rebound at a time when China’s recovery is gaining momentum. Twenty-five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expect prices to rise next week and five were bearish, making the proportion of bulls the highest since Oct. 14, 2011.

Aluminum advanced as much as 2.2 percent in London, and zinc, lead and tin also increased.

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