Copper futures edge lower with U.S. fiscal cliff talks in focus

Shutterstock photo - - Copper futures edged lower to trade near a two-week low during European morning hours on Wednesday, as investors continued to monitor negotiations among U.S. lawmakers to avoid the looming "fiscal cliff" crisis.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, copper futures for March delivery traded at USD3.645 a pound during European morning trade, down 0.2% on the day.

New York-traded copper prices held in a range between USD3.641 a pound, the daily low and a session high of USD3.661 a pound. Copper futures fell to USD3.639 a pound on Tuesday, the lowest level since December 6.

Market players continued to monitor developments surrounding the fiscal cliff in the U.S., approximately USD600 billion in automatic tax hikes and spending cuts due to come into effect on January 1, unless a divided Congress and the White House can work out a compromise in the two weeks left before the deadline.

President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner showed Tuesday that they were willing to compromise on the level of annual income that could be subject to higher taxes, boosting confidence a deal can be reached before the year-end deadline.

Meanwhile, in the euro zone, data released earlier showed that German business confidence in December improved to the highest level since August, as signs of progress in tackling the euro zone's debt crisis supported sentiment

The German IFO research institute said its Business Climate Index rose to a seasonally adjusted 102.4 in December from a reading of 101.4 in November. Analysts had expected the index to rise to 102.0 in December.

Sentiment was further boosted after ratings agency Standard & Poor's raised Greece's credit grade by six notches to "B-" late Tuesday, lifting the country out of default.

The ratings firm said the upgrade reflected its view that the other 16 single currency member states are determined to keep Greece inside the currency union.

The euro climbed to a seven-and-a-half-month high against the U.S. dollar, while the dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of six other major currencies, was down 0.25% to trade at 79.17, the lowest level since October 19.

A weaker dollar boosts demand for raw materials as an alternative investment and makes dollar-priced commodities cheaper for holders of other currencies.

Elsewhere on the Comex, gold for February delivery eased up 0.4% to trade at USD1,677.35 a troy ounce, while silver for March delivery added 0.35% to trade at USD31.78 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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