SHANGHAI, Mar. 17 (SMM) -- The US Labor Department announced on Wednesday that the producer price index (PPI) in February rose by 1.6% from January levels, much higher than expectations. The US Commerce Department announced that housing starts in February fell by 22.5% to an annual rate of 479,000, setting a record low since April 2009. Meanwhile, Moody's Investors Service downgraded Portugal credit rating by two notches to A3, causing the euro to weaken against the US dollar.
Weak economic data and uncertainties over Japanese nuclear crisis caused investors to choose safe-haven assets, so the US dollar index opened at 76.43 and closed at 76.60, up 0.22%. LME aluminum prices fell further, with prices opening at USD 2,498/mt and closing at USD 2,467/mt, down USD 35/mt compared with the previous trading day. Positions fell by 18,319 lots to 699,714 lots, and LME aluminum inventories fell by 4,475 mt to 4,620,450 mt.
Today, SHFE aluminum prices fell further after opening lower, with SHFE 1105 aluminum contract prices dipping below RMB 16,400/mt. The pessimistic market sentiment caused long investors to take a cautious attitude, and SMM predicts SHFE 1105 aluminum contract prices will move between RMB 16,300-16,500/mt today.
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