(Bloomberg) -- Copper edged higher after three straight daily declines as traders weighed strengthening Chinese exports ahead of US jobs data.

The commodity that’s seen as a proxy for global growth dropped this week as a ratings downgrade on China’s debt weighed on market sentiment. The uneven recovery of the world’s top metals consumer has kept metals markets subdued this year, though the rapid build-out of renewable energy has provided key support to copper.

China’s exports rose in dollar terms for the first time in seven months, beating the median economist forecast of no change year-on-year, data showed Thursday. The figures still don’t indicate a revival in external demand for the country’s products given the low base they were measured against, according to Bloomberg Economics.

On Friday, traders will look to the headline US jobs report for a gauge of the strength of the labor market, which is key to guiding the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy. Expectations for a quick shift to rate cuts next year, which would alleviate pressure on economic growth, has boosted copper in recent weeks.

Copper futures on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.7% to $8,341.50 a ton by 4:50 p.m. local time. Other metals were mixed, with aluminum and zinc weakening. Nickel rose 2.3%.

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.