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Base Metals Advance After Better-Than-Expected U.S. Jobs Data

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March 15 (Bloomberg) -- Industrial metals climbed, with zinc was poised for the first weekly gain in five after U.S. jobless claims unexpectedly dropped, improving demand prospects with the world’s second-largest user.

Copper for delivery in three months rose for a second day, adding as much as 0.6 percent to $7,850 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, before trading at $7,828 at 2:21 p.m. Shanghai time. The metal has climbed 1.1 percent so far this week. Zinc gained 0.8 percent to $1,991.25 a ton and has risen by the same amount for this week.

The number of people filing claims for jobless benefits in the U.S. averaged 346,750 over the past four weeks, the lowest since March 2008, data from the Labor Department show. Haruhiko Kuroda was confirmed as Bank of Japan governor by the upper house of parliament, ushering in a new central bank leadership team that may push for more monetary stimulus within weeks.

“Data from the U.S. have been pretty good recently, lending support to copper prices,” Xie Xiaoming, an analyst at Shengda Futures Co., said by phone from Guangzhou. “Still, copper futures don’t have the momentum to gain much given a lackluster physical market.”

The July contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange gained 0.5 percent to 57,070 yuan ($9,183) a ton. Copper for delivery in May on the Comex rose 0.3 percent to $3.5485 a pound.

China’s state reserves manager signed agreements today to buy 300,000 tons of aluminum at 15,137 yuan a ton from six smelters in April and May. Japan’s aluminum buyers agreed to pay near-record premiums to a global resources company for the April-to-June period.

LME Aluminum rose 0.2 percent to $1982.50 a ton. Nickel and lead also rose.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Helen Sun in Shanghai at hsun30@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Brett Miller at bmiller30@bloomberg.net

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