* U.S. employment rose by 281,000 private sector jobs in June
* China factory orders reinforce signs economy is steadying (Updates with closing prices)
By Susan Thomas
LONDON, July 2 (Reuters) - Copper rose to its highest in more than four months on Wednesday after U.S. jobs data signalled a strengthening recovery in the world’s largest economy, boosting demand prospects for the metal used mostly in power cables and construction.
U.S. private payrolls recorded their largest gain in 1-1/2 years in June as businesses stepped up hiring, reinforcing views the economy has rebounded from its first-quarter slump.
That added to optimism spurred by data this week showing an upbeat outlook for global manufacturing, especially in the world’s top copper consumer China.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange closed at $7,125 a tonne, just off its highest level since late February at $7,144.50 a tonne reached earlier in the session. Copper closed at $7,020 on Tuesday.
“Chinese factory orders data is still very much influencing the copper price today,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Ava Trade.
China’s factory activity hit multi-month highs in June, surveys showed on Monday.
Aslam added that the U.S. ADP payrolls data suggested that the U.S. jobs market was robust and more good news may follow on Thursday with the release of the U.S. non-farm payrolls report for May.
“A strong number could further strengthen demand for the metal (copper),” Aslam said.
A stronger economy would likely mean more houses would be built, and this would increase demand for copper.
LME tin closed at $23,025 per tonne from $22,800 at the close on Tuesday, lead at $2,206.50 per tonne from $2,160, nickel at $19,625 per tonne from $19,125.
Zinc closed at $2,248 per tonne from $2,186 and aluminium at $1,923 per tonne from a last bid of $1,884 on Wednesday.
Three month LME copper
Most active ShFE copper
Three month LME aluminium
Most active ShFE aluminium
Three month LME zinc
Most active ShFE zinc
Three month LME lead
Most active ShFE lead
Three month LME nickel
Three month LME tin (Additional reporting by Melanie Burton in Sydney; Editing by Keiron Henderson and Susan Fenton)