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Copper falls from 5-week high but losses remain limited

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Shutterstock photo - - Copper prices fell from the prior session's five-week high on Tuesday, but losses were limited amid speculation Chinese metal producers will scale back production to combat falling prices.

Copper for March delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange shed 1.4 cents, or 0.64%, to trade at $2.126 a pound during morning hours in London.

Nine large copper smelters in China have agreed that they could deepen planned production cuts next year beyond 350,000 tons proposed earlier if prices and profitability deteriorate.

A day earlier, copper surged to $2.144, the most since November 16, before ending at $2.140, up 2.7 cents, or 1.3%. That followed a gain of 6.9 cents, or 3.38%, on Friday, as a weaker dollar and hopes for global production cuts boosted prices.

Copper is on track to post an annual decline of 26% in 2015 as fears of a China-led global economic slowdown spooked traders and rattled sentiment.

The Asian nation is the world's largest copper consumer, accounting for nearly 45% of world consumption.

Elsewhere in metals trading, gold inched lower after a sharp two-day rally on Tuesday, as investors looked ahead to key U.S. economic data later in the session for further indications on the strength of the economy.

Gold is up almost $30, or 3%, over the past two sessions amid skepticism over the Federal Reserve's ability to raise interest rates as much as it would like next year.

The U.S. is to publish final figures on third quarter economic growth at 8:30AM Eastern Time Tuesday. The data is expected to show that the economy expanded 1.9% in the three months ended September 30, compared to last month's preliminary estimate of 2.1%.

At 10:00AM, the National Association of Realtors is to release data on existing home sales for November, amid forecasts for a gain of 0.5% to 5.37 million, following a decline of 3.4% a month earlier.

Trading volumes are expected to remain light in the coming days due to the Christmas holiday and as many traders already closed books before the end of the year, reducing liquidity in the market and increasing volatility.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.15% at 98.30, moving further away from last week's two-week peak of 99.33. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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