SHANGHAI, Mar. 4 (SMM) – The US Department of Labor announced on March 3rd that the US initial jobless claims in the week ending February 26th fell 20,000 to 368,000, down to the lowest level in more than 2 and 1/2 years. The data was far better than the economists' projections of an increase of 9,000 to 400,000. Meanwhile, a peace plan proposed by Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez to end the crisis in Libya sent crude oil prices down to USD 100/bbl, improving market confidence. In addition, Jean-Claude Trichet, the President of the European Central Bank announced to keep the interest rate unchanged at the record low level of 1.0%, pushing up the euro, and the US dollar fell in response. In this context, LME copper prices rallied, and briefly reached a 2-week high of USD 9,979/mt during the session. Before the end of the trading, profit taking sent LME copper prices down to USD 9,900/mt. Finally, LME copper prices closed at USD 9,910/mt, up USD 21/mt from a day earlier. LME copper inventories were up 500 mt.
During Friday's Asian trading hours, the US dollar index is expected to move between 76.3-76.9, and LME copper prices will fluctuate in the USD 9,850-9,950/mt range, and SHFE three-month copper contract prices will move between RMB 74,000-75,200/mt.
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