Copper Prices Jump Most in Seven Months on U.S. Economic Outlook

Copper futures rose the most in seven months amid speculation that the economy in the U.S., the world’s second-biggest consumer of the metal, is improving.

U.S. jobless claims fell in the week ended April 20 to the lowest since March 9, a government report showed today. First-quarter gross domestic product grew at an annualized rate of 3 percent, up from 0.4 percent in the three months ended Dec. 31, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News before tomorrow’s Commerce Department report.

“You get a little bit better-than-expected economic data, and markets probably aren’t pricing in a much bigger downside,” Bart Melek, the head of commodity strategy at TD Securities in Toronto, said in a telephone interview. “Economic data essentially makes things look a little bit less negative.”

Copper futures for delivery in July added 2.4 percent to settle at $3.2425 a pound at 1:09 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest increase for the most-active contract since Sept. 14. On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose 2.1 percent to $7,180 a metric ton ($3.26 a pound).

Stockpiles tracked by the LME, up 93 percent this year, fell 0.3 percent to 618,475 tons, daily exchange figures showed. Orders to remove the metal from warehouses climbed 0.4 percent to a record 168,200 tons.

The number of copper futures outstanding in London, or open interest, came to 483,990 contracts as of April 23, remaining at the highest since December 2011, LME figures showed today.

Aluminum, lead, nickel, tin and zinc also advanced in London.

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