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Metal prices lifted by soft US job figures

By Michael Bellart (Global Times)

10:30, September 11, 2012

Domestic base metal, precious metal and petrochemical futures soared Monday as lackluster employment data out of the US bolstered hopes of new stimulus measures from the US Federal Reserve.

The most traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) leapt 2.59 percent to close at 58,120 yuan ($9,169) per ton. The December contract opened 2.28 percent above Friday's closing price, edging higher over the session.

The three-month contract on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was trading 0.5 percent higher at $8,020 per ton when the Chinese mainland markets closed after gaining more than 3 percent Friday.

The SHFE's other most traded contracts followed the same pattern. Gold and silver all opened higher and stayed high Monday, trading more or less flat until the market closed. The December gold contract rose 2.47 percent to close at 358.23 yuan per gram.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly non-farm payroll report Friday, showing that the US added 96,000 jobs in August, below expectations, according to commodity analysts from the Australian bank ANZ.

"Weak economic data in the form of a disappointing 96,000 rise in US non-farm payrolls pushed markets back into the 'bad news is good news' dynamic by lifting the chance of further Fed stimulus," they wrote early Monday.

The ANZ analysts noted that although the headline unemployment number fell to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent, the drop was largely the result of a slide in the number of people looking for work, further evidence that the US recovery was losing momentum.

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