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Copper moves higher as China stimulus bets grow

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Shutterstock photo - - Copper edged higher on Monday, as prices remained supported by growing expectations for further monetary easing in China.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, copper for May delivery ticked up 1.5 cents, or 0.56%, to trade at $2.679 a pound during European morning hours. Prices held in a range between $2.651 and $2.684.

Futures were likely to find support at $2.598, the low from March 12, and resistance at $2.694, the high from March 3.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Sunday that policymakers are prepared to take action to stimulate the economy if needed and that the country has plenty of scope to adjust policies in order to boost growth and fight off deflation.

Last week, Comex copper rose 4.9 cents, or 2.07%, as a recent batch of weaker than expected Chinese economic data fuelled speculation policymakers in Beijing will have to introduce further stimulus measures spur growth.

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 tacked on $4.20, or 0.36%, to trade at $1,156.60 a troy ounce, while silver futures for May delivery rose 15.1 cents, or 0.97% to trade at $15.64 an ounce.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, fell 0.4% to 100.31, after hitting an intraday peak of 100.71, a level last reached in April 2003.

Gold and silver prices often move inversely to the U.S. dollar, as precious metals become less expensive for buyers using other currencies.

Market participants were looking ahead to Wednesday's Federal Reserve statement to see if it would drop its reference to being "patient" before raising rates.

Traders would interpret such a move as a sign that the central bank could raise rates as early as its June monetary policy meeting.

Expectations of higher borrowing rates going forward is considered bearish for gold, as the precious metal struggles to compete with yield-bearing assets when rates are on the rise.

Meanwhile, the euro slipped as low as $1.0471 early in the Asian session, a level not seen since, but then rebounded to $1.0537, up 0.4% on the day.

Sentiment on the single currency remained bearish amid the diverging monetary policy stance between the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank.

The euro has depreciated more than 13% against the U.S. dollar since the beginning of the year as the ECB launched a €60 billion a month quantitative easing program earlier in March. 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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