Copper hit record highs in London and jumped to a 30-month high in New York on Thursday as strong Chinese data suggested higher demand for the metal by the world's biggest consumer.

Official data showed China's industrial output advanced 13.1 percent and retail sales gained 18.6 percent in October from a year earlier. Inflation at two-year high is expected to drive investors towards commodities, which will serve as a hedge against the price rises.

At 0950 EST, copper for December delivery was at $4.035 a pound as per data available on COMEX website. The metal rose as high as $4.0835 on the day, the highest since early May 2008, when the most-traded contract clocked a record at $4.2605.

Copper for three-month delivery on the London Metal Exchange (LME) rose as high as $8,966, surpassing the previous peak of $8,940 set in July 2008.

Also, China's refined-copper production fell 1.2 percent to 400,000 tons last month, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

Codelco, the world's biggest copper producer, is increasing the surcharge on sales to South Korea next year by 32 percent, the second straight annual gain, a Bloomberg report said citing industry sources.

Copper is largely expected to continue rallying into the coming years due to continued tightness in supplies. The metal which has the strongest structural fundamentals among the base metals will rise to $11,250 a ton next year according to a Bank of America-Merrill Lynch report.