Copper hits 8-week high on Chinese demand hopes

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Investing.com - Copper prices rose to an eight-week high on Monday, amid speculation demand in top consumer China will strengthen in the near-term

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, copper for July delivery rose to a session high of $3.104 a pound earlier in the day, the most since March 7.

Copper last traded at $3.094 a pound during European morning hours, up 0.03%, or 0.1 cents. Futures tacked on 0.16%, or 0.5 cents, on Friday to settle at $3.093 a pound.

Futures were likely to find support at $3.035 a pound, the low from April 24 and resistance at $3.219 a pound, the high from March 7.

Data released over the weekend showed that profit at Chinese industrial companies rose 10.7% in March from a year earlier, faster than the 9.4% pace in the January-February period.

During the first quarter, profits of Chinese industrial companies increased 10.1% from a year earlier.

Market players looked ahead to China's official manufacturing purchasing managers' index, due May 1, which is expected to rise to 50.5 for April from 50.3 for March.

The Asian nation is the world's largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption last year.

Elsewhere on the Comex, gold for June delivery inched up 0.2%, or $2.60, to trade at $1,303.50 a troy ounce, while silver for July delivery dipped 0.18%, or 3.6 cents, to trade at $19.68 an ounce.

Investors continued to monitor events in Ukraine, as hostilities between Kiev and Russia escalated over the weekend, while the West prepared to impose fresh sanctions against Russia.

The U.S. and European Union are expected to step up sanctions against Moscow as early as Monday after pro-Russian rebels in east Ukraine took eight European military inspectors hostage.

Meanwhile, investors looked ahead to a series of key economic events later in the week for further indications on the strength of the U.S. economy and the future course of monetary policy.

Market participants were looking ahead to the Federal Reserve's monetary policy statement due on Wednesday. The central bank is likely to stick to its timetable to trim its monthly bond purchases by another $10 billion.

Traders were also focusing on Friday's U.S. jobs report for April, which was expected to indicate that the recovery in the labor market is continuing.

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