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Copper jumps 2% on dovish Fed outlook

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Shutterstock photo - - Copper futures rallied sharply on Thursday, after the Federal Reserve projected a slower pace of rate hikes.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, copper for May delivery surged 5.4 cents, or 2.09%, to trade at $2.624 a pound during European morning hours after hitting an intraday high of $2.629.

Futures were likely to find support at $2.552, the low from March 18, and resistance at $2.645, the high from March 18.

In a statement following its monetary policy meeting on Wednesday, the Fed downgraded its forecasts for growth and inflation and lowered its interest rate projections.

The Fed dropped a reference to being "patient" on the timing of rate hikes, but added that the change in its forward guidance did not mean it has decided on the timing for an initial rate increase.

"Just because we removed the word "patient" does not mean we will become impatient," Fed Chair Janet Yellen said at a post-meeting press conference.

Yellen also warned that the stronger dollar was acting as a drag on U.S. exports and was pushing down inflation.

The statement prompted investors to push back expectations on the timing and pace of future rate increases.

The dollar index plunged to three-week lows of 94.77 on Wednesday, before rebounding to trade at 99.04 early on Thursday.

A day earlier, copper fell to $2.552, a level not seen since February 17, before ending at $2.570, down 6.2 cents, or 2.37% as mounting concerns over the health of China's property sector dampened appetite for the red metal.

A cooler property sector not only weighs on demand for copper as construction material, but also dampens consumption from the home appliances sector.

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

Elsewhere on the Comex, gold futures for April delivery rallied $14.40, or 1.25%, to trade at $1,165.70 a troy ounce, while silver futures for May delivery climbed 33.7 cents, or 2.17% to trade at $15.87 an ounce.

A delay in raising interest rates would be seen as bullish for gold, as it decreases the relative cost of holding on to the metal, which doesn't offer investors any similar guaranteed payout.

Gold fell to a four-month low of $1,141.60 earlier in the week amid concerns that the Federal Reserve will start raising rates as early as in June. 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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