SHANGHAI, Mar. 18 (SMM) – Economic data in the US were mixed. Despite growing industrial production in February, gasoline prices rose sharply. The country’s CPI hit a 4-year high in February. Besides, consumer confidence index hit the lowest level since December 2011 and manufacturing activity in New York slowed, keeping investors cautious. Investors took profits last Friday, causing LME copper to find its low at USD 7,750/mt. Finally, LME copper ended the day down USD 46/mt at USD 7,758/mt. SHFE and LME copper inventories have each exceeded 200,000 mt, putting downward pressure on copper prices.
The euro zone approved rescue package for Cyprus last weekend, and markets are waiting the country to vote on this resolution. Risk aversion may push the US dollar higher and weigh down copper prices. LME copper should move within USD 7,750-7,850/mt during Asian trading hours on Monday. The Shanghai Composite Index will likely close higher, lending support to SHFE copper prices. SHFE 1306 copper contract prices are expected to drift higher after a low opening, with prices between RMB 56,500-57,200/mt today. In spot markets, today is the first trading day of the new SHFE current-month copper contracts – 1304 contracts, with spot discounts expected at RMB 0-50/mt and premiums between RMB 0-50/mt .