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Copper Heads for Biggest Weekly Gain Since December

Copper futures capped the biggest weekly advance since December on speculation that demand will increase in China, the world’s biggest buyer, amid declining stockpiles.

Markets opened today in China after the week-long Lunar New Year holiday. Inventories at warehouses monitored by the London Metal Exchange have declined 16 percent this year to the lowest since December 2012. Last week, futures tumbled 2.3 percent, the most since August.

“We expect to see some Chinese purchases,” Frank Lesh, a trader at FuturePath Trading LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “You’re seeing an oversold rebound.”

Copper futures for March delivery gained 0.2 percent to settle at $3.236 a pound at 1:23 p.m. on the Comex in New York. This week, the price has climbed 1.2 percent, the most since Dec. 27.

On the LME, copper for delivery in three months rose 0.2 percent to $7,141 a metric ton ($3.24 a pound).

Nonfarm payrolls in the U.S. increased by 113,000 in January, after a revised 75,000 gain in December, government figures showed today. The median forecast of economists in a Bloomberg survey called for a 180,000 advance.

Zinc, nickel, lead, tin and aluminum rose in London.

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