SINGAPORE, Nov. 5 -- Copper rebounded in Asia after orders placed with U.S. factories increased for the fifth time in six months in September, fueling optimism the global economic recovery is gathering pace.
Prices of the metal used in construction and automobiles were also buoyed by an ongoing strike in Chile, the world's largest source of copper. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's biggest mining company, failed to reach an agreement with striking workers at its Spence copper mine in Chile late yesterday.
"Fundamentals look like they're improving, with economic data getting better and supply disruptions lingering," Deng Hong, research manager at Chengdu Brilliant Futures Co., said today. "Prices are also heading higher as options expire." London Metal Exchange options settle today, the first Wednesday of the month.
Three-month delivery copper in London rose as much as 2.1 percent to $6,598 a metric ton and traded at $6,578.50 at 2:59 p.m. in Singapore. The metal pared losses yesterday after falling as much as 2.8 percent amid rising inventories.
Copper for December delivery in New York advanced for a second day, rising 0.4 percent to $2.99 a pound. January- delivery copper on the Shanghai Futures Exchange climbed as much as 1.3 percent to 51,400 yuan ($7,528) a ton, before ending the day at 51,130 yuan.
Orders at U.S. factories climbed 0.9 percent in September, exceeding the median estimate of a 0.8 percent increase in a Bloomberg News survey of 66 economists. The U.S. is the second- largest user of copper after China.
In Chile, workers at BHP's Spence mine have been on strike for more than three weeks. The conflict is unlikely to be resolved this week, Pedro Marin, president of the country's Mining Federation, said yesterday.
Among other LME-traded metals, aluminum rose 0.6 percent to $1,920 a ton, zinc gained 1.8 percent to $2,219.50 a ton, and lead added 1.5 percent at $2,303 a ton. Nickel advanced 1.9 percent to $18,140 a ton, and tin was up 0.6 percent at $14,880 a ton as of 3:02 p.m. in Singapore.