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Copper futures hit 3-day high on China demand expectations

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Shutterstock photo - Copper futures rose to a three-day high during European morning hours on Tuesday, as expectations demand from top consumer China will remain strong boosted the appeal of the industrial metal.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, copper futures for May delivery traded at USD3.528 a pound during European morning trade, up 0.75% on the day.

New York-traded copper prices rose by as much as 1.2% earlier in the day to hit a session high of USD3.544 a pound, the strongest level since March 1.

Copper prices were higher as China's National People's Congress began its annual session earlier in the day.

Outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao announced an economic growth target of 7.5% for 2013, broadly in line with expectations.

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

Copper prices received an additional boost amid speculation the Federal Reserve will maintain its bond-buying program.

Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen said on Monday the central bank's aggressive monetary stimulus was warranted given how far the economy was operating below its full potential.

Speculation the Fed would keep its loose monetary policy weighed on the U.S. dollar. The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of six other major currencies, was down 0.3% to hit 82.03.

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

Other central banks were also in focus, with the European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan all holding policy meetings later in the week.

Friday's data on U.S. nonfarm payrolls will also be closely watched as investors attempt to gauge the strength of the economic recovery.

Meanwhile, investors continued to eye political developments in Italy, amid the growing likelihood of fresh elections as hopes for a coalition government faded.

Elsewhere on the Comex, gold for April delivery rose 0.6% to trade at USD1,581.90 a troy ounce, while silver for May delivery rallied 1.5% 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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