Confident consumers boost copper

Copper futures capped the biggest gain in two months as consumer confidence reached a seven-year high in the U.S., the world’s second-biggest consumer of the metal.

Improving sentiment signals gains for American spending and demand for appliances and electronics that use copper wiring. Futures trading was 85% above the 100-day average, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The gains for confidence are “good for the economy, and good for the industrial complex as a whole,” Graham Leighton, a trader at Marex Spectron Group in New York, said in a telephone interview.

Copper futures for March delivery rose 1.7% to settle at $3.0385 a pound at 1:18 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest gain since Sept. 16.

Prices closed unchanged for the week amid concerns that demand will slow in China, the top metals consumer. That nation’s factory production in October grew at its second weakest pace since 2009, government figures showed yesterday.

“As strong as the U.S. is supposed to be, it doesn’t really matter,” Bart Melek, the head of commodity strategy at TD Securities in Toronto, said in a telephone interview. “China is just so much bigger for incremental and overall use.”

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months climbed 0.7% to $6,705 a metric ton ($3.04 a pound) on the London Metal Exchange.

Zinc, nickel and lead also rose in London, while aluminum and tin fell.