Copper to Zinc Advance as U.S. Economy Seen Improving

Copper futures capped the biggest gain in almost three weeks on speculation that demand will improve amid signs of a strengthening economy in the U.S., the world’s second-biggest consumer of the metal.

The jobless rate in September dropped to 5.9 percent, the lowest since July 2009, according to a government report on Oct. 3. U.S. sales the same month at General Motors Co., Chrysler Group LLC, and Nissan Motor Co. topped the averages of analyst estimates, data last week showed. Copper also rose as a falling dollar boosted the appeal of the metal as an alternative asset.

“Positive jobs data in the U.S. on Friday and a little reprieve in dollar strength today is helping the copper price,” David Meger, the director of metals trading at Vision Financial Markets in Chicago, said in a phone interview.

Copper futures for December delivery added 1.2 percent to settle at $3.0355 a pound by 1:08 p.m. on the Comex in New York, capping the biggest increase since Sept. 16.

The dollar lost as much as 0.9 percent against a 10-currency basket after reaching a four-year high last week

Markets in China, the biggest metals consumer, are shut through tomorrow for a week-long public holiday.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose 1 percent to $6,710 a metric ton ($3.04 a pound).

Copper stockpiles monitored by the LME fell 0.3 percent to 150,050 tons, the lowest since Sept. 2, daily data showed. Orders to remove the metal from warehouses declined for a 15th session to 20,800 tons, the longest streak since Aug. 13.

Aluminum, lead, nickel, tin and zinc gained in London.

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