Strong economic data released by the globe's largest user prompted copper futures to demonstrate their biggest gains in nearly 14 days on the first trading session of the final month of the second quarter of 2013, according to Bloomberg.
Released on Saturday, a purchasing managers' index for China noted the metric surged to 50.8. It did not settle at 50, which various economists predicted. Also driving the reddish metal higher in value on Monday was Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. noting probes of its interests in Indonesia are likely to slow down if not stop work for as many as 90 days.
Copper's myriad uses in manufacturing, construction and additional industry makes it sensitive to worldwide financial and economic developments.
The purchasing managers' index released by the Asian nation "has given the metals markets a shot in the arm," states a report issued on Monday by RBC Capital Markets Ltd., according to Bloomberg. "Copper is also benefiting from fundamental issues," RBC noted, which points directly to the Grasberg mine in Indonesia.
At 11:31 a.m. on Monday, copper futures rose 0.76 percent, a 0.025-cent gain to $3.3175 per pound.
The industrial metal's increase on Monday was as high as 1.7 percent, which was the most since May 22.
Chinese data pushes higher
The strong manufacturing data released by the government of China suggests the country's economic slowdown is easing. The country's economy is second in size to that of the U.S.
"The apparent consumption numbers will continue to look good in the May data," analyst Gayle Berry with Barclays Plc in London told Bloomberg regarding the Asian nation on Monday. "But people are getting a little bit worried about later this month and July, whether some of that seasonal uptick will start to ease off."
The Wall Street Journal reports the gains in China came as a surprise.
The purchasing managers' index checked in at 50.6 in April. May results were projected to fall to 49.8, so the climb to 50.8 not only trumped the result but also demonstrated expansion. The mark of 50 serves as the standard that separates expansion and contraction.
But a different metric of manufacturing by the Asian nation indicated the sector did not develop but actually contracted in May. Roughly 40 percent of the globe's supply of copper is consumed by China.
"The numbers broadly balance each other out," states a note authored by analyst Leon Westgate with Standard Bank, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Buyers were increasingly returning to the market, the analyst noted, pointing to advances in official Chinese data as well as issues with disruptions to supplies at mines.
Indonesian mine to be shuttered temporarily
The operations in Indonesia belonging to Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. are subject to shuttering while officials probe a fatal accident, an official with the Indonesian government told the news source. Twenty-eight employees were killed in May when a roof collapsed at an underground facility for training purposes.
The firm's mining operations in Indonesia generated roughly 2 percent of the world's copper in 2012.
Forbes reports the Grasberg site is located on the country's eastern-most island and has been in operation since the 1970s.
The fatal accident occurred on May 14 when an underground tunnel collapsed and caused the worst mining accident in the country's history.
The probe that the government is undertaking is set to consume anywhere from 60 to 90 days, during which that facility will not be generating the reddish metal.
Ordered by the nation's ministry of energy and mineral resources, the assessment also is supported by union officials who are concerned about how safe the practices are at the site.
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