Aug 02, 2011 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex) -- --Comex September copper down 2.20 cents, or 0.5%, at $4.3880/lb.
--Stronger dollar crimps demand among buyers using foreign currencies.
--Traders watching for U.S. car sales, final U.S. debt vote.
By Tatyana Shumsky
Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--Copper futures slipped on a stronger dollar Tuesday, with investors watching U.S. car sales for signs of improving metal demand.
The most actively traded contract, for September delivery, was recently down 2.20 cents, or 0.5%, at $4.3880 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Thinly traded August-delivery copper fell 2.20 cents, or 0.5%, to $4.3820 a pound.
A stronger dollar damped demand for copper futures among investors holding foreign currencies. Dollar-denominated contracts like Comex futures appear more expensive to these buyers when the dollar rallies.
The ICE Dollar Index was recently at 74.463, up from 74.329 late Monday in New York.
U.S. auto makers are due to report July car sales figures throughout Tuesday. Traders are watching for any improvement from the so-called Detroit Big Three, General Motors Co. (GM), Chrysler Group and Ford Motor Co. (F), as well as Asian competitors Toyota Motor Corp. (TM) and Honda Motor Co. (HMC).
Copper is widely used in automotive production because of its electrical conductivity and corrosion resistance properties.
"Given the string of bad economic data that's starting to get into its third month we need to see some good news, but I'm not looking for any surprise to the upside," said Sterling Smith, an analyst with Country Hedging.
Market participants are also keeping a weary eye on Washington, where the Senate is due to vote on the U.S. debt-ceiling deal later Tuesday. The agreement between Republican and Democratic party leaders must be approved by both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama Tuesday to avoid a federal government default. The House approved the measure Monday.