The U.S. economy created 194,000 jobs last month, the fewest jobs in nine months, compared to a consensus forecast of 500,000 jobs.
The dollar index weakened, catching metals traders off-guard, who scrambled to adjust positions and buy back bearish trades as stops were hit, traders said.
An easier dollar makes commodities priced in the U.S. currency cheaper for buyers using other currencies.
“The moves have been pretty remarkable today,” said Gianclaudio Torlizzi, partner at consultancy T-Commodity in Milan.
“The market remains very tight on the supply side so it is very vulnerable to what the dollar does. So when the dollar reacted negatively to the payroll data, that gave steam to the metals.”
Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) had gained 0.8% to $9,355.50 a tonne by 1600 GMT, having touched a low of $9,232.50 in morning trade and reversing direction after the jobs data.
LME nickel was the biggest gainer, surging 5.2% to $19,215 a tonne, partly due to short-covering. Broker Marex said the net speculative short position had climbed to 11.6% of open interest by Oct. 6, compared to a peak of 15.9% last year
Zinc also saw healthy gains, racing 3.5% higher to $3,157.50 after touching $3,179, the strongest since June 2018. “Zinc is one of the metals that is impacted the most from the China power crunch,” Torlizzi said.
LME aluminium added 0.7% to $2,967.50 a tonne, lead gained 2.3% to $2,223 and tin climbed 2.5% to $36,150.
A Peruvian Andean community suspended a protest and a blockade against Glencore’s Antapaccay mine on Friday, after reaching an agreement to begin talks in search of a new deal between the mine and residents.