Mar.4 (Bloomberg) --Copper headed for its first weekly gain in a month as signs the global economy is improving offset concerns that rising energy costs, driven by fighting in Libya and unrest in states across in the Middle East, may crimp growth.
Three-month-delivery copper on the London Metal Exchange traded little changed at $9,910.75 a metric ton by 3:21 p.m. Singapore time, after dropping as much as 0.8 percent. The metal is up 1.5 percent this week, the first weekly gain in four, after U.S. services and manufacturing grew. A report later today may show that U.S. payrolls jumped.
"Investor sentiment was hit recently by concerns about the global economy stemming from the unrest in Libya, so we’re getting a lot of sideways trading,” Guan Jianxin, an analyst at China Minzu Securities Co., said from Beijing. "Once there’s a resolution, we’re optimistic the market can push much higher,”
Futures on the Comex in New York gained as much as 0.5 percent to $4.5120 a pound, before trading at $4.5105. May- delivery copper on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 0.8 percent to end at 74,720 yuan ($11,378) a ton.
U.S. service industries expanded in February to 59.7, the highest level since August 2005, and manufacturing grew at the fastest pace in almost seven years, according to the reports. The number of jobless-benefit claims fell to 368,000 last week, the lowest since May 2008, a separate report showed.
Today’s Labor Department release may show that payrolls rose by almost 200,000 in February, the biggest gain since May, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The U.S. is the world’s second-largest copper user.
Libyan opposition leaders rejected a mediation offer by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, an ally of Muammar Qaddafi, as armed rebels held out against regime attacks, driving oil past $100 a barrel. Chavez, speaking on state television, said if the Libya conflict becomes an "international war,” oil prices could reach $200. Crude in New York last traded at $102.37.
Lead in London gained 0.5 percent to $2,629.75 a ton, nickel rose 0.4 percent to $28,975 a ton and tin added 0.3 percent to $31,755 a ton. Aluminum was little changed at $2,615 a ton, and zinc was little changed at $2,511.25 a ton.