Copper Risess to Highest in a Week on Copper-Mine Strike

Copper futures rose to the highest in more than a week as prospects for a strike at a mine in Peru sparked supply concerns.

Workers at the Antamina mine in Peru plan to stop work tomorrow at midnight over pay and bonuses, said Jorge Juarez, a union leader. The site, owned by BHP Billiton Ltd. and Glencore Plc, is the world’s sixth-biggest source of the metal by capacity, according to the International Copper Study Group.

“Strikes are always in general supportive for prices when the news first breaks,” Edward Meir, an analyst at INTL FCStone Inc. in New York, said in a telephone interview. “If the market senses the strike is sticking because supplies really start actually decreasing and you see pressure on inventories, then it becomes something serious.”

Copper futures for March delivery gained 1.5 percent to settle at $2.9275 a pound at 1:19 p.m. on the Comex in New York, after touching $2.9505, the highest since Nov. 28.

Prices also rose as a decline in the dollar boosted demand for the metal as an alternative investment. The greenback headed for the biggest drop in a month against a basket of 10 currencies.

BHP and Glencore each own 33.75 percent of Antamina, while Teck Resources Ltd. owns 22.5 percent and Mitsubishi Corp. holds 10 percent.

A U.S. government report showed job openings climbed in October to the second-highest in almost 14 years, adding to signs of strengthening demand in the nation, the world’s second-biggest copper user. China is the largest.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months jumped 1.2 percent to $6,480 a metric ton ($2.94 a pound).

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

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