Copper Rises as U.S. Job Gains Boost Outlook for Demand, Economy

Copper futures rose for the second straight day as a jump in payrolls boosted economic optimism and prospects for demand in the U.S., the world’s second-biggest user of the metal.

The addition of 204,000 workers last month topped the 120,000 median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg, government figures showed today. The improvement in the labor market countered concern that the Federal Reserve will curb fiscal stimulus. Copper inventories monitored by the London Metal Exchange extended a slump to the lowest since March.

“The jobs report paints a better demand picture, and any time we see positive economic news like this out of the U.S., it’s going to help copper,” Michael Smith, the president of T&K Futures & Options in Port St. Lucie, Florida, said in a telephone interview. “The market may be starting to discount the Fed a bit. Eventually, it’s all about supply and demand.”

Copper futures for December delivery rose 0.2 percent to settle at $3.254 a pound at 1:18 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The price, up 0.4 percent yesterday, dropped 1.3 percent this week, the most since Sept. 13.

Fed policy makers said last week they needed to see more evidence the economy will continue to improve before they trim $85 billion in monthly purchases of Treasury and mortgage debt. The central bank won’t begin to scale back until March, according to the median estimate of 40 analysts in a Bloomberg survey last month.

On the LME, copper for delivery in three months gained 0.3 percent to $7,167.50 a metric ton ($3.25 a pound). The price has dropped 9.6 percent this year. China is the top consumer.

Aluminum, lead and nickel dropped in London, while zinc and tin advanced.

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