Copper futures bounced off the prior session’s five-week low on Wednesday, as market players looked ahead to a pair of manufacturing reports due out of China later in the week for further hints over the strength of the world’s second largest economy. Copper for December delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange tacked on 2.8 cents, or 1.26%, to trade at $2.280 a pound during morning hours in London. A day earlier, copper fell to $2.225, a level not seen since August 24, before recovering to end at $2.251, little changed on the day. Copper prices lost 13.4% in the third quarter amid indications China’s economy is losing momentum, fueling fears over slackening demand for the industrial metal. The official China manufacturing purchasing managers’ index due Thursday was expected to fall to 49.6 in September from 49.7 in August. Meanwhile, the final reading of the Caixin manufacturing purchasing managers’ index, also due Thursday, was forecast to inch up to 47.2 from a preliminary reading of 47.0, which was the lowest since March 2009. A reading below 50.0 indicates industry contraction. The Asian nation is the world’s largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption last year. Elsewhere in metals trading, gold futures for December delivery shed $3.80, or 0.34%, to trade at $1,123.00 a troy ounce as expectations for a U.S. rate hike in the coming months continued to weigh on the precious metal.