Copper Climbs to 19-Week High as U.S. Companies Add More Workers

Jul 02, 2014 1:44 pm ET

July 2 (Bloomberg) -- Copper futures rose to the highest in almost 19 weeks on prospects for higher demand as employers in June added the most workers since 2012 in the U.S., the world’s second-largest user of the metal.

Companies added 281,000 people to payrolls, topping the highest forecast in a Bloomberg survey of analysts, data from the ADP Research Institute in Roseland, New Jersey, showed today. In the second quarter, copper advanced 5.9 percent, the most since September.

Payrolls “caught the whole market by surprise,” Tim Evans, the chief market strategist at Long Leaf Trading Group in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “When you have employment growing, naturally, the demand for industrial commodities like copper will be higher. You’ll tend to see buying in those markets.”

Copper futures for September delivery climbed 1.9 percent to settle at $3.265 a pound at 1:15 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Earlier, the price reached $3.2665, the highest for a most-active contract since Feb. 20.

The Labor Department probably will say tomorrow that payrolls, including government agencies, rose by 215,000 workers last month, according to analysts. In China, the biggest copper user, a government report yesterday showed that manufacturing expanded in June at the fastest pace this year.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months increased 1.5 percent to $7,125 a metric ton ($3.23 a pound). Nickel, aluminum, zinc, lead and tin also rose.

Copper stockpiles monitored by the LME increased for two straight days. On June 30, they fell to the lowest since August 2008.