Copper rose on Friday as demand increased and supplies dropped the most since October 30.

Inventories in the London Metal Exchange fell 1.6 percent or 2,725 metric tons to 166,750 tons. Since the beginning of 2008 supplies have been falling consistently.

Another factor supporting copper's gain in the market is an increasing demand of the red metal from China. The country recently suffered the impact of strong winter storms which blocked transportation and shrunk China's copper production. Smelting operations were minimized because of a shortage of power.

Also, Codelco, the biggest producer of copper in Chile, reported an output decline of 5 percent in 2007. The company had its biggest drop in 16 years, according to El Mercurio newspaper yesterday.

Copper futures for March delivery rose 8.55 cents or 2.48 percent to $3.5395 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Copper gained 8.1 percent this week, the biggest since March 16, according to statistics from Bloomberg.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper futures gained $175 or 2.31 percent to $7,740 a metric ton.

Despite fears of an economic recession in the U.S., the strong demand of copper from China is hedging global consumption. China is the top consumer of copper in the world.