SHANGHAI, Jan. 25 (SMM) – On Thursday, the macro and economic data fronts were mixed. HSBC China manufacturing PMI came in positive, but cast a shadow on market expectations over economic stimulus in the world's top consumer, negatively affected commodity markets. However, the favorable data heightened investors' anticipation that base metals demand will improve in the next few months. As such, base metals markets swung between gains and losses. During the early US and European trading session, France announced that its business activity shrank in January to the lowest level since the worst time of global financial crisis, but German private-sector activity expanded to its highest in a year. Uneven pace in European recovery ignited market concerns. Later, the US reported its initial jobless claims last week dropped to the lowest since January 2008 of 330,000, well below the expected 355,000. Meanwhile, the Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the US rose in December, an indication of improvement in the US economic growth prospects. According to Markit survey, the preliminary US manufacturing PMI index climbed to 56.1 in January, the highest since March 2011, showing strong US manufacturing activity at the beginning of 2013. Markit said the initial new order index was 57.7 in January, also the highest since May 2010. Encouraging economic figures reassured market sentiment. Nevertheless, Apple shares closed down more than 12% after the company reported its revenues came in softer than expected for a third consecutive quarter. In response, US equity markets swung between gains and losses while investors weighed between optimistic economic data and risk aversion. LME copper prices thus slipped after initially rising and closed USD 28/mt at USD 8,075/mt, with a top at USD 9,124/mt. Besides, the proportion of cancelled warrants to total LME copper stocks continued falling.
LME copper prices will move between USD 8,050-8,110/mt during Friday's Asian trading session. Chinese stock markets will fluctuate at lows. SHFE copper prices are likely to march slightly higher after starting flat, while SHFE 1305 copper contract will hover in a band of RMB 58,500-58,900/mt. Shanghai spot copper discounts are estimated between RMB 120-220/mt versus SHFE 1302 copper contract.