Copper Rises Most in Six Weeks as Freeport Halts Grasberg Output

Copper futures jumped the most in six weeks after Freeport-McMoRan Inc. halted production at Indonesia’s Grasberg, the world’s second-largest mine for the metal by capacity.

About 50 workers blocked access to a road to the mine for the fourth straight day, and output was suspended starting Monday, while shipments from inventories continued. Freeport is the largest publicly traded copper producer.

“Investors are keeping a nervous eye on a lingering work stoppage at Grasberg,” Edward Meir, an analyst at INTL FCStone in New York, said in a daily report. “Clearly, this is something the markets are watching.”

On the Comex, copper futures for May delivery jumped 3.5 percent to settle at $2.66 a pound at 1:23 p.m. in New York, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since Feb. 3.

Copper for delivery in three months advanced 3.2 percent to $5,853 a metric ton ($2.65 a pound) on the London Metal Exchange.

Aluminum, nickel, lead, tin and zinc climbed amid speculation that global stimulus measures will bolster economic growth and spur metal demand.

Swiss National Bank President Thomas Jordan pledged Thursday to keep interest rates at a record low after Sweden cut borrowing costs this week. Chinese equities rose for the seventh straight session day as investors bet that monetary stimulus will revive growth in the country, the top metal user.

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