SHANGHAI, Mar. 3 (SMM) – Spot copper was quoted at discounts of RMB 120-280/mt over the most active SHFE copper contract price on Monday. Standard-quality copper traded at RMB 48,500-48,600/mt and high-quality copper at RMB 48,600-48,800/mt. China’s official manufacturing PMI for February announced last weekend still underperformed January’s level, and HSBC’s China manufacturing PMI came in negative as estimated. In response, copper prices at home and abroad both declined below crucial marks. Bearish sentiment prevailed in the market, and cargo holders continued to move goods in large amounts to generate cash out of fears that copper prices would fall. This phenomenon was sharply against traditional trend that cargo holders held prices firm at the beginning of the month with eased liquidity. As a result, spot discounts expanded from last Friday, and most copper supply in the market was from importers for financing and investors for arbitrage. Downstream producers just stayed on guard, and didn’t rush to go bargain-hunting after copper prices fell below RMB 49,000/mt. Markets were awaiting price guidance from the ongoing National People’s Conference (NPC) and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Transactions will not improve significantly before copper prices stop falling.