Copper prices advanced on Monday on hopes of stronger demand for metals after data showed an acceleration in hiring in the United States.
US companies in June hired the most workers in 10 months, raising wages and offering incentives to entice millions of unemployed Americans.
“Wage growth tends to lead to strong demand for durable goods, a key sector for the metals markets,” said ANZ analysts in a note.
Copper for delivery in September rose 1.9% from Friday’s settlement price, touching $4.358 per pound ($9,587 per tonne) midday Monday on the Comex market in New York.
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Global copper smelting activity slipped in June after a rebound a month earlier as Chinese plants closed for maintenance, data from satellite surveillance of copper plants showed.
Satellite service SAVANT and broker Marex said in a joint statement on Friday that they were now monitoring nickel smelters, which showed weak refined nickel production, but a jump in nickel pig iron (NPI) activity.
NPI is a lower-nickel-content substitute for refined nickel.
“In copper, the narrative remains one of a slow march towards normality with material divergences at a regional level,” said Guy Wolf, global head of analytics at Marex, which helped to develop SAVANT.
“The Chinese maintenance period appears to be taking place as scheduled this year but the very strong levels of NPI activity in China are striking.”
(With files from Reuters)