(Bloomberg) -- Copper edged higher in London, bolstered by rising expectations that heavy losses over the past three weeks could tempt some buyers to make an opportunistic return to the market. 

Prices rose as much as 1.2% to $9,882 a ton, steadying after a steep decline on Friday as a strong US jobs report cast further doubt on the timing and extent of Federal Reserve interest-rate cuts. Trading volumes were thin on Monday, with Chinese markets closed for a public holiday.

The key industrial metal has fallen sharply from a record above $11,100 a ton struck last month, fueled by worries about a steady increase in global inventories and profit taking by investment funds. Concerns about the state of spot demand continue, but some traders and analysts expect manufacturers will soon start stepping back into the market to take advantage of the decline in prices.

“I think it’s likely that we’ll see some short-term opportunistic buying, but I don’t see much chance of a quick snap back to much higher levels until the fundamentals improve,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S. “The long-term bull story has not gone away, but the market ran out of the starting blocks too soon, before the fundamentals could justify such a move.”

Copper was 1% higher at $9,857 a ton on the London Metal Exchange as of 2:50 p.m. local time, rising alongside zinc and tin. Aluminum fell 0.3%, while lead also slipped.

--With assistance from Guillermo Molero.

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