SHANGHAI, Mar. 7 (SMM) -- The US Labor Department announced on March 4th that the US non-farm payrolls in February increased by 190,000, much higher than market expectations, and hitting a new high since May 2010. Meanwhile, the US Commerce Department announced that the factory orders in January rose by 3.1%, also higher than market forecast of a 2.0% rise. Both employment and industrial production in the US were positive. However, crude oil futures prices were driven up by intensifying unrest at the oil hub of Ras Lanuf in Libya, and investors rushed for safe-haven assets as a result. In response, the US dollar index fluctuated lower during European trading hours, and finally closed at 76.40, down 0.09 or 0.12% compared with the previous trading day. Although US economic data was positive, rising energy prices dragged down the global economic recovery and dampened market expectations of consumption of industrial metals. LME aluminum prices opened higher at USD 2,623/mt, and later edged down as investors exited the market after profit-taking, with prices finally closing at USD 2,600/mt, down USD 14/mt compared with the previous trading day, or down 0.54%, with support found at USD 2,600/mt. Total positions declined by 5,651 lots to 709,190 lots. Today, SHFE aluminum prices opened lower at RMB 16,955/mt in response to falling LME aluminum prices overnight, and faced strong resistance at RMB 17,000/mt, and SMM predicts SHFE 1105 aluminum contract prices will struggle at the 5-day moving average today.
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