The price of the reddish metal also benefited from inventories tracked by the London Metal Exchange dropping for a 41st consecutive session. HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics released a gauge of Chinese factory activity, which checked in at 50.5 last month. Another measure released by China registered at 51.
"Copper is a bit of a story of some tightness," head of sales Herwig Schmidt with Triland Metals Ltd. in London told the news source on Thursday. "It all hangs on China. If China suddenly catches a cold, we will see everything go somewhere quite a bit lower."
At 9:27 a.m. on Thursday, copper futures edged down 0.26 percent, a 0.009-cent loss to $3.3875 per pound.
Reuters reports copper futures dropped more than 7 percent last year despite having risen more than 4 percent during the final month of the year. The reddish metal's performance in December was its strongest since September 2012.
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