Copper futures off 2-week high amid global jitters

Shutterstock photo - Copper futures eased off the previous session's two-week high during European morning hours on Wednesday, as investors looked ahead to the release of U.S. retail sales data for February later in the day for further signs the economic recovery is gaining momentum.

Market players also continued to digest the recent disappointing economic data from China, the world's largest consumer of the industrial metal.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, copper futures for May delivery traded at USD3.547 a pound during European morning trade, down 0.2% on the day.

New York-traded copper prices fell by as much as 0.4% earlier in the day to hit a session low of USD3.543 a pound. Comex copper prices rose to USD3.575 a pound on Tuesday, the strongest level since February 28.

Copper prices came under mild selling pressure amid concerns over a possible slowdown in China, the world's second-largest economy.

Data over the weekend showed that inflation in China hit a ten-month high in February, while industrial output rose at the slowest rate since October 2009.

Higher-than-expected inflation could raise concerns that Beijing will start monetary tightening.

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

Market players were also cautious ahead of an auction of three-year and 15-year Italian government bonds later in the session.

The auction was seen as an important test of investor appetite for the country's debt, as concerns over ongoing political uncertainty lingered following last month's inconclusive elections.

Earlier in the day, data showed that industrial production in the euro zone fell for the fourth time in five months in January, underlining concerns over the outlook for economic growth in the single currency bloc.

Eurostat said in a report that industrial production fell by a seasonally adjusted 0.4% in January, compared to expectations for a 0.1% decline.

Copper traders were now looking ahead to the release of U.S. data on retail sales later in the trading day amid optimism that the economic recovery in the U.S. is gaining traction.

Last week, data showed that the U.S. economy added 236,000 jobs in February, beating expectations for a 160,000 increase, while the unemployment rate fell to a four-year low of 7.7%.

Elsewhere on the Comex, gold for April delivery was flat to trade at USD1,591.10 a troy ounce, while silver for May delivery shed 0.35% to trade at USD29.06 a troy ounce. - offers an extensive set of professional tools for the Forex, Commodities, Futures and the Stock Market including real-time data streaming, a comprehensive economic calendar, as well as financial news and technical & fundamental analysis by in-house experts.

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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.

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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