NEW YORK, Feb 10, 2011 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex) -- Copper futures rose Tuesday as stronger-than-forecast jobless data bolstered the positive outlook on demand for the industrial metal.
The most actively traded contract, for March delivery, rose 1.95 cents, or 0.4%, to settle at $4.5435 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
"The economic situation is certainly a little bit positive," said Stephen Platt, an analyst with Archer Financial Services in Chicago.
Thursday data showing that the number of U.S. workers filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected added to the constructive outlook for copper prices.
The market is already forecast to be in a deficit this year as the global economy recovers and supply remains constrained.
That view was strengthened as initial jobless claims dropped by 36,000 to 383,000 in the week ended Feb. 5. Economists had expected claims would fall last week by just 4,000.
Copper prices are particularly sensitive to economic data because the metal is widely used to manufacture wires, pipes and sheets for electronics, appliances, buildings and automobiles.
The metal also got a boost as the U.S. Dollar pulled back from highs set against the euro as rising yields on Portuguese bonds reignited worries about European sovereign debt problems. The euro later seesawed on news from Egypt where there were conflicting reports about whether President Hosni Mubarak would step down later in the day.
Meanwhile, inventories of copper stored in London Metal Exchange warehouses rose 550 metric tons Thursday, leaving them at 396,950. The most recent Comex inventory data, released late Wednesday afternoon, were up 557 short tons at 76,021 short tons.
Copper settlements (ranges include electronic and pit trading):
Mar $4.5435; up 1.95 cents; Range $4.4905-$4.5585
May $4.5535; up 1.95 cents; Range $4.5000-$4.5670