SHANGHAI, Mar. 18 (SMM) – Japan's nuclear crisis remains on the spotlight, but strong buying during Asian trading hours, mainly from China, helped market attention shift to market fundamentals. Meanwhile, the US dollar index falling below 76 points also supported copper prices. During the European and US trading hours, the US Department of Labor announced its initial jobless claims fell 16,000 to 385,000 in the week ending March 12. Economists predicted the claims would fall 9,000. The better-than-expected data indicated the US labor market is continuing to improve, further improving market sentiment. In this context, LME copper prices closed at USD 9,565/mt, up as much as USD 305/mt, the largest daily gain since 4th November. Copper futures contract prices for May delivery on the COMEX were up 3.5% at USD 4.3440/lbs, closing to the high-end of price trading band between USD 4.1460-4.3630/lbs.
During Friday's Asian trading hours, the US dollar index is expected to move between 75.8-76.5, and LME copper prices will fluctuate in the USD 9,500-9,600/mt range, and SHFE three-month copper contract prices will move between RMB 71,000-72,300/mt.
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