Copper futures rose on speculation that the Federal Reserve will hold off on scaling back monetary stimulus after U.S. companies added fewer jobs in August than analysts expected.
Payrolls climbed by 169,000 workers, trailing the 180,000 median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg survey, and the July figure at 104,000 was smaller than the government estimated, Labor Department statistics showed today. The Fed is monitoring jobs as part of its evaluation on maintaining bonds purchases in U.S., the world’s second-biggest copper consumer.
“All of the metals are going through a knee-jerk reaction to the idea that the prospect of tapering is receding,” Frank McGhee, the head dealer at Integrated Brokerage Services LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “Expectations for immediate tapering have gotten a little bit dented by the jobs report for now.”
Copper futures for December delivery rose 0.5 percent to settle at $3.2615 a pound at 1:26 p.m. on the Comex in New York, capping the first weekly gain since Aug. 16. The metal has dropped 11 percent this year.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose 0.7 percent to $7,160 a metric ton ($3.25 a pound). Stockpiles fell 0.5 percent to 600,275 tons.
Fed policy makers start a two-day meeting on Sept. 17 to decide whether to keep buying $85 billion of debt a month. China is the top copper consumer.
In Chile, workers began a strike over pay yesterday at Codelco’s Salvador mine, which has annual output of 76,184 tons of copper.
Chile’s state-owned Codelco, the world’s biggest producer, has total output of 1.7 million tons.
Nickel rose the most in three weeks in London. Tin, aluminum, lead and zinc rose.