Copper Gains as Signs of U.S., China Growth Buoy Demand Outlook

Copper futures climbed the most in more than three weeks as signs of improving economic growth buoyed demand prospects in China and the U.S., the world’s biggest consumers of the metal.

China’s equities rose to a 10-week high after Premier Li Keqiang said he’s confident the country will achieve this year’s economic goals and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. boosted its forecast for the nation’s expansion in 2013. Reports today showed gains in U.S. manufacturing last month and construction spending in July.

“The China news has been supportive for copper, as things there look to be turning up,” Frank Lesh, a trader at FuturePath Trading in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “The U.S. has been looking better, too.”

Copper futures for delivery in December rose 2.2 percent to settle at $3.3045 a pound at 1:17 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest gain since Aug. 8. Floor trading on the Comex was shut yesterday for the Labor Day holiday.

The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index increased to 55.7 in August, the highest since mid-2011, from 55.4 a month earlier, the Tempe, Arizona-based group said today. Readings above 50 indicate expansion. Construction spending rose 0.6 percent in July, a government report showed.

Figures due Sept. 6 will show employers in the U.S. hired more workers last month than in July, according to economist estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months added 0.1 percent to $7,245 a metric ton ($3.29 a pound).

Aluminum, lead and nickel fell in London. Tin and zinc advanced.

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