"There is diminishing concern about some of the financing irregularities that have been uncovered, with the feeling being that this is unique to a couple of players and should not significantly impede the financing of metals," wrote Edward Meir, metals analyst for INTL FCStone.
An additional reason for the strength that Meir and others point to is more prosaic: The U.S. dollar is dropping sharply on Monday to a nearly two-month low, consequently pushing up commodity prices across the board (given that as the U.S. currency becomes weaker, more dollars are required to buy the same amount of a given commodity).
"I think copper is mostly a dollar story," said Chicago-based trader Jim Iuorio. "The yen and the euro have both staged a rebound after feeling the effects of easy money policies."
But a final driver is significantly more interesting. Copper, which is often known as "Doctor Copper" due to its perceived ability to "diagnose" the health of the global economy, could be rising because of optimism about the economy. And indeed, a few key economic releases this week could indicate that the global economy is stronger than the copper market has been implicitly forecasting.
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First, China's Purchasing Manager's Index (or PMI) is seem hitting a six-month high when it is released on Tuesday at 9 a.m. Beijing time (or 9 p.m. EST on Monday), according to economist estimates compiled by Reuters. Some more good manufacturing news could then come out of the U.S. on Tuesday, when the ISM manufacturing index is released. And on Thursday morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the granddaddy of all economic reports, the Employment Situation. Economists are expecting to learn that the U.S. logged the fifth straight month of plus-200,000 job growth.
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If we really do get some good news about global growth, that should boost copper demand, because a stronger economy means more industrial production. And some major players in China might be acting now before the data confirms what economists are already calling for.
"Premium is being paid in China for prompt delivery [of copper] due to the speculation that Thursday's jobs report in the U.S. will be optimistic, helping the economy, and local banks may be easing in China their loans as tomorrow their PMI index may have improvements," RBC Capital Markets metals expert George Gero wrote to CNBC.com.
"Fundamentally, the rally makes sense," echoed Brian Stutland of Equity Armor Investments. "Traders are anticipating continued demand from China, probably forcing the price of copper higher."
If "Doctor Copper" is right, then, the global economy is primed to ace its latest checkup.