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Copper Rallies on November Jobs Report, Upbeat Trade Tone

December 6, 2019 at 18:57 by Andrew Moran

Copper futures are rallying at the end of the trading week, driven by a strong November jobs report and an overall upbeat tone on trade negotiations. The industrial metal’s performance has been closely associated with the US-China trade dispute, ebbing and flowing on any of the developments. But the red metal is also making gains on a bullish economy that might spur demand levels for copper.

March copper futures rose $0.0675, or 2.53%, to $2.7305 per pound at 17:42 GMT on Friday on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Copper prices will record a weekly gain of nearly 3%, lifting their year-to-date gains to 3.3%.

On Friday, the US government reported that the economy added 266,000 jobs last month, beating market expectations of 180,000. The unemployment rate dipped to a 50-year low of 3.5%. There were across the board increases in health care (45,000), hospitality (45,000), professional services (31,000), manufacturing (54,000), and government (12,000).

This comes soon after factory activity in China returned to growth for the first time in seven months. But export demand remained disappointing, suggesting that the US-China trade dispute is still impacting the world’s second-largest economy.

When an economy is an expansion mode or there is positive economic data, it usually leads to higher copper prices. The industrial metal is used mostly in construction and manufacturing.

President Donald Trump stimulated copper prices, as well as equities, when he confirmed that trade talks were “moving right along.” The main hurdle for Washington and Beijing is to agree to eliminate at least some of the existing tariffs to establish the first phase of a comprehensive trade agreement.

In other metal markets, January gold futures tumbled $18.20, or 1.23%, to $1,465 per ounce. March silver futures fell $0.455, or 2.68%, to $16.515 an ounce. January platinum futures shed $2.10, or 0.23%, to $898.50 per ounce. January palladium futures added $5.20, or 0.28%, to $1,850.90 an ounce.

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