SHANGHAI, Mar. 24 (SMM) -- The US Commerce Department announced on Wednesday that new home sales in February fell by 16.9% to an annual rate of 250,000, hitting a record low and lower than the forecast of 290,000. Although the US new homes sales data was weak, Portuguese opposition parties have refused to back austerity measures drafted to help the country avoid a bail-out, adding uncertainties to Portugal economy and again triggering investor concerns over European debt crisis. In response, the euro weakened, helping push up US dollar index, with the index finally closing at 75.848, up 0.258 or 0.34% compared with the previous trading day. The turmoil in Middle East escalated, and Pakistan rockets hit Israel, and the turmoil also occurred in Yemen, Bahrain and Syria. Meanwhile, the unrest in Libya mounted, helping push up crude oil futures for May delivery to test the pressure above USD 106/bbl on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
LME aluminum prices opened high and moved higher last night supported by rising energy prices and market expectations of robust demand for base metals from post-earthquake reconstruction in Japan, with prices opening higher at USD 2,618/mt and finally closing at a higher of USD 2,631/mt, up USD 31/mt or 1.19% compared with the previous trading day. Total positions increased by 3,239 lots to 696,378 lots.
Today, SHFE 1105 aluminum contract prices opened slightly higher at RMB 16,730/mt driven up by advancing LME aluminum prices. Although market fundamentals failed to provide strong support for SHFE aluminum prices, SHFE 1105 aluminum contract prices will continue to move higher, with prices expected to struggle at RMB 16,800/mt. Today, SHFE 1106 aluminum contract will likely become the most actively traded contract, with prices expected to find support at the 20-day moving average.
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