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Copper futures decline on China recovery concerns, strong U.S. dollar

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Shutterstock photo - Copper futures edged lower during European morning hours on Tuesday, as investors 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 USD3.509 a pound during European morning trade, down 0.25% on the day.

New York-traded copper prices fell by as much as 0.5% earlier in the day to hit a session low of USD3.500 a pound.

Concerns over a possible slowdown in the world's second-largest economy intensified after data over the weekend showed that inflation in China hit a 10-month high in February, while industrial output rose at the slowest level 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.

Fears over a possible economic impact from the U.S. sequestration spending cuts, and last month's election deadlock in Italy also was likely to remain in focus.

Copper prices also struggled for upside traction due to a slightly stronger U.S. dollar, as dollar-priced commodities become more expensive to investors holding other currencies when the greenback gains.

The dollar index was up 0.25% to trade at 83.03, hovering just below last week's seven-month high.

But the industrial metal remained supported as sentiment over the U.S. economy got a boost last week following the release of upbeat employment data on Friday.

Data on Friday showed that the U.S. economy added significantly more jobs than forecast in February, with the unemployment rate falling to a four-year low of 7.7%.

Elsewhere on the Comex, gold for April delivery added 0.25% to trade at USD1,581.90 a troy ounce, while silver for May delivery rose 0.25% to trade at USD28.91 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.

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