NEW YORK/LONDON, March 5 (Reuters) - Copper rose 3 percent on Friday and finished the week with solid gains, as investors read the better-than-forecast U.S. jobs data as a sign that demand for the industrial metal could continue to improve and as the euro continued to rally on the dollar.
Earlier, comments from China calmed investor concerns that monetary tightening in the world's top metal consumer could jeopardize its demand.
Benchmark copper for three-month delivery CMCU3 on the London Metal Exchange closed at $7,545 a tonne in rings from $7,370 on Thursday, and hit a session high of $7,610.
Most active copper for May delivery HGK0 closed 4.20 cents, or 1.24 percent, higher at $3.4175 per lb on the New York Mercantile Exchange's COMEX division.
Western demand for the metal remains weak, and economic data is improving slowly. But data showing U.S. employers cut a smaller-than-expected 36,000 jobs in February, mainly due to severe weather conditions across the United States, bolstered investor sentiment.
Also lifting sentiment, China's Premier Wen Jiabao said the country would stick to an appropriately easy monetary stance and an active fiscal policy. This helped sooth concerns about Chinese demand, which is showing signs of softening as the country has moved to a less accommodative monetary policy to cool rapid growth.
"The fundamentals have generally been improving," said David Wilson, an analyst at Societe Generale. "There's a little bit more optimism that China is going to continue to be a major metals consumer," he added.
"People are little a bit more positive on comments that the Chinese premier was making about maintaining spending, to maintain economic growth."
Copper is up just 2 percent so far this year, whereas intense demand from China helped the metal, used in power and construction, surge 140 percent in 2009.
Also supporting prices, copper stocks at LME warehouses fell 1,075 tonnes to 543,150 tonnes -- levels not seen since early February -- maintaining a recent downward trend. In Shanghai, copper warehouse inventories fell by 858 tonnes, or by 1 percent, from a week earlier.
Copper's gains follow a five-week peak in prices on Monday after a weekend earthquake forced top producer Chile to temporarily shut down nearly a quarter of its mine capacity.
But as miners restart production this support is fading.
"We still would be cautious about metals here, as we think copper has more work to do on the downside in that it has yet to give up most of this week's earthquake-induced gains," Edward Meir, an analyst at MF Global said in a note.
Aluminium CMAL3 closed at $2,230 from $2,215 and earlier reached $2,260, its highest since late January. LME stocks of the metal, used in transport and packaging, slipped 6,850 tonnes to 4.5 million tonnes. A large portion of those aluminium stocks are tied up in finance deals to release cash for producers and to earn banks higher returns than in money markets.
Among other base metals, steel making ingredient nickel CMNI3 traded at $22,395 from $22,300, while battery material lead CMPB3 was at $2,230 from $2,170. Zinc CMZN3 traded at $2,349 a tonne from $2,259 and tin CMSN3 was last quoted at $17,400/17,405 from $17,250.