Published: Nov 01, 2012 3:27 PM EDT
Updated: Nov 02, 2012 6:31 AM EDT

The price of copper is higher after manufacturing expanded in the world's two largest economies and Americans spent more money on big-ticket items like automobiles.

Copper increased 3.45 cents Thursday to finish at $3.552 per pound.

New reports show that manufacturing improved in October in the U.S., the world's largest economy. Americans also spent more on vehicles and other factory goods.

Separately, China says its manufacturing sector grew last month. The world's second-largest economy is a huge importer of commodities.

Copper often is considered a barometer of economic growth because it's used in a wide array of products from construction materials to electronics.

In other trading, prices are higher for oil, natural gas, wheat and soybeans. Gold, silver and corn are lower.