* U.S. weekly jobless claims unexpectedly fall
* Euro gains vs dollar after ECB gives no hints on easing
* Copper trading 1.9 percent lower year-to-date
* Coming up: U.S. non-farm payrolls data 1330 GMT on Friday
By Harpreet Bhal and Eric Onstad
LONDON, March 7 Copper and aluminium prices
rebounded on Thursday, lifted by a strong euro and
better-than-expected U.S. data that boosted the outlook for
growth, but slow demand from top consumer China may keep further
gains in check.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange
closed 1.0 percent higher at $7,765 a tonne after shedding 1
percent on Wednesday. Aluminium gained 1.3 percent to
finish at $1,979 a tonne.
Although copper has rebounded off three-month lows hit last
week, prices are still trading 1.9 percent lower in the year to
date after the metal used in power and construction shed more
than 4 percent in February.
Investors were encouraged on Thursday after data showed the
number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits
unexpectedly fell last week.
"It's a very encouraging number. It shows now that we have a
few consecutive weeks where new claims are at this lower trend,"
said Russell Price, senior economist at Ameriprise Financial
Services in Michigan.
Data on Wednesday that showed U.S. private employers hired
more workers than expected in February and demand for a range of
factory goods was solid in January.
Investors are likely to pay close attention to U.S. non-farm
payrolls data due on Friday, seen as a key labour market
indicator for the world's largest economy.
"As far as the U.S. is concerned there are clearly a lot of
things that are positive," said Nic Brown, head of commodity
research at Natixis.
"The housing market is clearly improving and that will have
a knock-on effect but equally the whole question of fiscal
retrenchment will be a serious drag to growth for some to time."
Also helping lift prices was a rise in the euro against the
dollar, which makes commodities priced in the U.S. dollar
cheaper for holders of other currencies.
The single currency rallied against the dollar after the
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi gave no hints about
monetary policy easing in the months ahead after leaving its
benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low 0.75 percent.
Brown at Natixis said base metals were unlikely to show
significant gains until the market sees clear signs of strong
demand from top consumer China, where recent tighter measures
for the property market have acted as a drag on copper prices.
"We would expect copper buying (from China) to increase more
strongly if prices reach closer to USD7,500/t, but there are
signs of some traders buying on the dips," ANZ analysts said in
All eyes were on the outlook for demand from China, which
accounts for 40 percent of global copper consumption, after
consumption slowed last month ahead of the week-long Lunar New
China's new leadership meet this week and markets are
closely watching their policy announcements for potential impact
on metals demand. So far these include allowing more flexibility
in the yuan's exchange rate and prioritising
Tin climbed 0.8 percent to close at $23,655 a tonne
and zinc ended 0.8 percent higher at $1,990. Lead
added 0.9 percent to finish at $2,211 a tonne while
nickel rose 0.8 percent to $16,650.