Copper Rises to 4-Month High; Zinc Reaches 1-Year Peak on Demand

Copper advanced to a four-month high and zinc touched a one-year high on signs that the Chinese and U.S. economies are recovering, boosting the outlook for demand in the world’s two largest users. Aluminum, nickel, lead and tin also rose.

Copper for three-month delivery rose as much as 0.7 percent to $8,346 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, the highest level since Oct. 5, and was at $8,309 at 4:32 p.m. in Tokyo. The price climbed 3.2 percent last week, the biggest advance since September. Futures for delivery in May gained 0.5 percent to close at 59,950 yuan ($9,623) a ton on the Shanghai Futures Exchange.

In the U.S., manufacturing grew more than forecast last month and hiring increased, separate reports showed on Feb. 1. Manufacturing in China, the second-biggest economy, expanded in January for a fourth consecutive month, signaling that global growth picked up at the start of 2013. Copper is used to make pipes and wires.

“Rising Chinese and U.S. manufacturing output painted a positive backdrop for commodity demand,” analysts led by Mark Pervan at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., said in a report today.

U.S. payrolls expanded 157,000 in January after a revised 196,000 advance in December and a 247,000 surge in November, Labor Department data showed on Feb. 1. The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index climbed to 53.1 in January, the highest level since April, from 50.2 the prior month, according to a report from the Tempe, Arizona-based group.

Copper stockpiles monitored by the Shanghai exchange dropped last week to the lowest level in two months. Inventories fell for a third week, losing 8,029 tons to 197,091 tons, data from the bourse showed on Feb. 1. Still, reserves monitored by the LME gained 1.1 percent to 376,000 tons, the highest since Dec. 16, 2011, bourse data showed on Feb. 1.

Copper for delivery in March was little changed at $3.7795 a pound on the Comex in New York.

On the LME, zinc advanced as much as 0.6 percent to $2,190 a ton, the highest since Jan. 27, 2012, and lead climbed as much as 1.2 percent to $2,479.25 a ton, the highest since Jan. 3. Nickel rose as much as 0.6 percent to a four-month high of $18,737 a ton.

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