Investing.com - Copper futures declined on Wednesday, as traders looked ahead to key Chinese economic data to gauge the strength of the world's second largest economy and biggest consumer of the industrial metal.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, copper for September delivery shed 0.27%, or 0.9 cents, to trade at $3.199 a pound during European morning hours. Prices held in a range between $3.195 and $3.216 a pound.
Copper ended Tuesday's session up 0.28%, or 0.9 cents, to settle at $3.208. Futures were likely to find support at $3.173, the low from July 21 and resistance at $3.236 a pound, the high from July 22.
The next slice of Chinese economic data to come out will be the HSBC preliminary purchasing managers' index for July, due on Thursday. The report is expected to show that factory activity improved to a 10-month high of 51.0 this month from June's reading of 50.8.
Copper traders consider shifts in the HSBC PMI an indicator of China's copper demand, as the industrial metal is widely used by the sector.
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 August delivery tacked on 0.21%, or $2.80, to trade at $1,309.10 a troy ounce, while silver for September delivery inched up 0.1%, or 2.0 cents, to trade at $21.02 an ounce, as traders awaited new developments from Ukraine and the Middle East.
The European Union threatened Russia on Tuesday with harsher sanctions over Ukraine, while fighting in the Gaza Strip between Israeli security forces and Hamas militants continued.
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