Copper Has Longest Rally in Six Months on U.S. Economy

Copper prices posted the longest rally in six months on signs of economic gains in the U.S., the world’s second-biggest metal user. Zinc rose to a 16-month high.

Yesterday, reports showed fewer Americans filed applications for unemployment benefits, consumer confidence rose and manufacturing picked up. The dollar was poised for the second straight weekly drop against a basket of 10 major currencies, boosting the appeal of raw materials. Combined copper stockpiles monitored by exchanges in London, Shanghai and New York extended a drop to the lowest since October 2008.

“Copper is reacting to the better outlook on the economy,” Frank Lesh, a trader at FuturePath Trading LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “We’ve also had a weaker dollar this week, and that helps boost commodities.”

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose 1.4 percent to settle at $6,820 a metric ton ($3.09 a pound) at 5:50 p.m., the biggest gain since May 12. The price climbed for the sixth straight session, the longest rally since Dec. 16.

Zinc rose 1.1 percent to $2,177 a ton after reaching $2,182, the highest since Feb. 15, 2013. The price climbed for the sixth straight session, the longest rally since Dec. 17. Yesterday, inventories monitored by the LME fell to the lowest since December 2010.

Aluminum, nickel and tin dropped in London, while lead gained.

On the Comex in New York, copper futures for September delivery climbed 1.2 percent to $3.113 a pound. This week, the price gained 2.8 percent, the most since March 28.,

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials headed for longest rally in 11 months. China is the top consumer of industrial metals.

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