Mar.4 (Bloomberg) --Copper rose to a two-week high as concerns eased that metal demand will dwindle amid a decline in energy costs and more signs of a U.S. economic recovery.
Crude-oil futures dropped as the Arab League weighed a proposal from Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez to mediate the conflict in Libya. Initial jobless claims unexpectedly declined last week to the lowest level since May 2008, indicating a strengthening labor market in the U.S., the world’s second- biggest copper consumer. The price of the metal rose to a record last month.
"The market will also be watching the Libyan situation closely with Chavez entering the fray,” said Daniel Brebner, an analyst at Deutsche Bank AG in London. "It may moderate risk perceptions” in the near term, he said.
Copper for delivery in three months climbed $25, or 0.3 percent, to close at $9,915 a metric ton ($4.50 a pound) on the London Metal Exchange at 6:11 p.m. local time. Earlier, the price reached $$9,979, the highest for a most active since Feb. 16.
The metal has gained 31 percent in the past year, as mining companies struggled to keep pace with rising consumption. China is the largest copper buyer. The price touched a record $10,190 on Feb. 15.
"Growth will be good enough to support prices,” said Rich Ilczyszyn, a senior strategist at Lind-Waldock, a broker in Chicago. "Fundamentals are positive, and the uptrend in copper is still intact.”
In New York, copper futures for May delivery slid 0.8 cent, or 0.2 percent, to settle at $4.49 a pound on the Comex. Earlier, the price reached $4.5485, the highest for a most- active contract since Feb. 16. The all-time high was $4.6575 on Feb. 15.
Futures may reach $4.64 by the end of next week, Ilczyszyn said.
Aluminum, lead, tin, zinc and nickel also gained on the LME.