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BASE METALS: Comex Copper Declines as U.S. Dollar Gains
Aug 16, 2010 13:19CST

NEW YORK, Aug 13, 2010 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex) –

Copper futures lost ground Friday as investors moved to the perceived safety of the U.S. Dollar as economic jitters continue.
That flagging sentiment about the economy may also have damped optimism about demand for the industrial metal and led some large traders to book profits.
"In recent days, there has been another bout of investor risk aversion," said Patricia Mohr, vice president and commodity market specialist at Toronto-based Scotiabank. "It's quite possible that the hedge funds are taking profits."
The December copper contract fell 3.3 cents, or 1%, to settle at $3.2725 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The euro extended its losses Friday, hitting a fresh three-week low against the safe-haven dollar as persistent concerns about slowing global economic growth dented the common currency. In recent trading, after copper closed, the ICE Futures U.S. Dollar Index was up 0.2%. A stronger dollar often pressures copper by making the dollar-denominated commodity more expensive for buyers using other currencies.
Copper futures have been generally under pressure on the perception that the economic recovery may be weakening.
The Federal Reserve on Tuesday was downbeat and said the economic recovery "has slowed in recent months" and the "pace of economic recovery is likely to be more modest in the near term than had been anticipated."
The assessment followed U.S. nonfarm payrolls data last week that were weaker than expected, ratcheting up market worry.
Concerns about slowing growth in China, the world's largest copper consumer, have also been weighing on the metal.
On Thursday, copper prices bounced as participants bought back previously sold positions. Friday's trade was essentially a reversal of that.
"Yesterday we had a little bottom fishing," said Frank Lesh, broker and analyst with FuturePath Trading in Chicago. "We're just sort of giving back yesterday's gains."
Economic data Friday were in line with expectations, not providing copper with much direction.
U.S. consumer prices rose in July for the first time in four months on the back of higher energy prices, but underlying inflation remained tame amid a weak economy.
The seasonally-adjusted consumer price index for July rose by 0.3% from June. But core consumer prices, which strip out changes in volatile energy and food prices, rose by just 0.1%.
Separate data showed that U.S. retail sales rose for the first time in three months during July, but the narrow gain was driven by sales of cars and gasoline as demand fell for many other merchants fighting a sluggish economy.
Copper prices may reach support soon, said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist with Lind-Waldock in Chicago.
"Support should come in around $3.18," he said.
Inventories of copper stored in London Metal Exchange warehouses fell 525 metric tons Friday, leaving them at 408,550. The most-recent Comex inventory data, released late Thursday afternoon, were down 378 short tons at 97,619 short tons.
Once-a-week data released on Fridays by the Shanghai Futures Exchange showed a weekly rise of 7,502 metric tons to 113,870.
Copper settlements (ranges include electronic and pit trading):
Sep $3.2520; down 3.20 cents; Range $3.2360-$3.3120
Dec $3.2725; down 3.30 cents; Range $3.2565-$3.3305
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