March 7 (Bloomberg) -- Copper gained the most in almost four weeks after the European Central Bank maintained its view that the euro-area economy will gradually recover later this year and as U.S. jobless claims unexpectedly dropped.
The euro strengthened the most in eight weeks against the dollar, boosting the appeal of commodities as alternative assets, after ECB President Mario Draghi said data suggest the economy will stabilize this year. First-time filings for unemployment benefits in the U.S. fell to 340,000 last week, the lowest since the period ended Jan. 19, and below the 355,000 median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
“The comments from the ECB are truly driving the commodities markets today,” Tim Evans, the chief market strategist at Long Leaf Trading Group in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “Claims were a little better than expected as well.”
Copper futures for delivery in May climbed 0.8 percent to settle at $3.5205 a pound at 1:15 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest gain since Feb. 8.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said yesterday it’s bullish on copper. Home building in China and the U.S. will drive demand, Goldman Sachs analyst Max Layton said at a Metal Bulletin conference in Madrid. China is the world’s biggest consumer of the metal, used in pipes and wiring, and construction in the country accounts for 20 percent of global demand, according to the bank.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months added 1 percent to $7,765 a metric ton ($3.52 a pound).
Nickel, aluminum, tin, lead and zinc also rose in London.
--With assistance from Jae Hur in Tokyo, Sungwoo Park in Seoul and Agnieszka Troszkiewicz in London. Editors: Thomas Galatola, Millie Munshi