Copper prices settled higher Monday following news of increased manufacturing activity in China, the world’s second-largest economy.
A report out from HSBC revealed activity in China’s manufacturing sector expanded this month. That’s the first time the measure has shown a rise in manufacturing this year, a possible sign that measures taken by Beijing to bolster growth are starting to work.
Copper for July delivery rose 3 cents to settle at $3.15 a pound on Monday.
China is the world’s biggest buyer of the industrial metal, so an increase in manufacturing implies stronger demand. Copper prices are still down more than 7 percent this year, mainly because of concerns that China’s economic growth was slowing.
Other metals were mixed. Gold for August rose $1.80 to $1,318.40 an ounce, and silver for July slipped 3 cents to $20.92 an ounce.
Platinum for July dropped 70 cents to $1,456.60 an ounce, while palladium for September rose 45 cents to $822.65 an ounce.
In other trading, wheat fell 6 cents to $5.80 a bushel, while corn dropped 9 cents to $4.45 a bushel. Soybeans rose 2 cents to $12.34 a bushel.
In the market for oil and gas, benchmark U.S. crude for August delivery dropped 66 cents to $106.17 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:
– Wholesale gasoline slipped 2 cents to $3.11 a gallon.
– Heating oil fell 2 cents to $3.03 a gallon.
– Natural gas dropped 9 cents to $4.45 per 1,000 cubic feet.