SHANGHAI, Mar. 2 (SMM) -- The US Institute for Supply Management (ISM) announced on March 1st that the manufacturing index in February was 61.4, the record high since May 2004. Positively affected by the manufacturing index, the US dollar index strengthened to break through 77 and finally closed at 77.05, up 0.24 or 0.31% compared with the previous trading day. The US dollar index advanced and crude oil futures for April delivery rose to hit USD 100/bbl again on the New York Mercantile Exchange, both weighing on LME base metals prices. However, LME aluminum prices climbed, since the Libyan unrest negatively affected local supplies of aluminum ingot. Last night, LME aluminum prices fluctuated higher to USD 2,617/mt after opening at USD 2,595/mt, and finally closed at USD 2,610/mt, up USD 10/mt compared with the previous trading day, or up 0.38%. Positions increased by 7,519 lots to 720,120 lots. Today, SHFE 1105 aluminum contract prices opened slightly lower at RMB 17,050/mt, shrugging off strong gains in LME aluminum prices overnight, with prices even falling rapidly later. As domestic spot aluminum market fundamentals remain weak, SMM predicts SHFE 1105 aluminum contract prices will struggle at RMB 17,000/mt today.
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