SHANGHAI, Mar. 25 (SMM) -- The US Labor Department announced on March 24th that the initial application for jobless benefits fell to 382,000 in the week ending March 19th, slightly better than the forecast of 383,000. Meanwhile, the US Commerce Department announced that the US durable goods orders fell by 0.9% in February, the biggest decline within four months. The latest US economic data was mixed, failing to boost investor confidence. The negative outlook for Portugal economic condition increased European debt crisis, but improved market expectations that the European Central Bank will raise interest rates at the same time. As a result, the euro strengthened strongly, dragging down the US dollar index. The US dollar index fluctuated lower in European trading hours, and finally closed at 75.709 given bearish trading sentiment, down 0.139 or 0.18% compared with the previous trading day.
Last night, LME aluminum prices opened slightly higher at USD 2,633/mt, and later climbed to USD 2,641/mt as NYMEX crude oil prices stood above USD 106/bbl. However, as the weak US durable goods orders in February depressed market trading sentiment, LME aluminum prices lost previous gains, with prices finally closing at USD 2,630/mt, down USD 1/mt or 0.04% compared with the previous trading day. Total positions increased by 8,352 lots to 704,730 lots.
As LME aluminum prices experienced limited declines last night, SHFE 1105 aluminum contract prices opened flat at RMB 16,740/mt today, but weak market fundamentals continued to weigh down SHFE aluminum prices, so SMM predicts SHFE 1105 aluminum contract prices will struggle around RMB 16,800/mt today.
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