SHANGHAI, Mar. 30 (SMM)–LME copper kept fluctuating Thursday, without noticeable signs of where prices were headed. The release of economic figures out of the US also failed to push LME copper prices out of recent trading range. Although the number of Americans filing for US jobless claims fell to a fresh four-year low last week, it was still higher than analysts anticipated, while the US economic growth during 4Q 2011 came in as markets expected, which led US equity markets to swing between gains and losses. LME copper prices therefore fell as low as USD 8,286/mt in the session and finally ended flat at USD 8,360/mt, continuing to struggle near the 60-day moving average.
LME copper prices will fluctuate in a narrow band on the last trading day before the Qingming Festival, between USD 8,350-8,450/mt during Friday's Asian trading session and with upside resistance prevailing. Chinese stock markets will move weakly around 2,250. SHFE copper prices will keep fluctuating following a slightly higher open and probably rise in the afternoon session as short investors close positions for risk aversion, while SHFE 1206 copper contract prices will lurch in the RMB 59,500-60,200/mt range. The shift of the most actively-traded copper contracts is likely to be completed Friday. In spot markets, downstream consumption will be light as SHFE copper prices show strong resilience. Besides, downstream producers replenished some stocks Thursday and therefore are unlikely to purchase in large quantities Friday. As such, SMM anticipates spot copper discounts are estimated between negative RMB 250-180/mt versus SHFE 1204 copper contracts.