- Copper prices edged lower on Thursday, as investors remained cautious ahead of the release of upcoming U.S. economic data and a policy meeting by the European Central Bank.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, copper futures for May delivery held in a range between $3.194 a pound and $3.208 a pound.

Copper prices last traded at $3.196 a pound during European morning hours, down 0.2%. The May copper contract lost 0.37% on Wednesday to settle at $3.202 a pound.

Futures were likely to find support at $3.166 a pound, the low from March 4 and resistance at $3.235 a pound, the high from March 5.

Market players looked ahead to key U.S. economic data later in the day for further indications on the strength of the economy and the future course of monetary policy.

The U.S. is to publish the weekly report on initial jobless claims as well as data on factory orders. Investors were also beginning to turn their attention to Friday’s highly-anticipated nonfarm payrolls report for February.

The Federal Reserve said in its Beige Book released Wednesday that severe winter weather across much of the U.S. took a toll on consumer spending in recent weeks, leading to slower growth and a contraction in some parts of the country.

Meanwhile, in the euro zone, traders will be awaiting the outcome of the ECB’s policy meeting later Thursday. While no policy change was expected from the central bank, focus will be on forward guidance and hints about future easing.

Elsewhere on the Comex, gold for April delivery fell 0.3% to trade at $1,336.40 a troy ounce, while silver for May delivery dipped 0.35% to trade at $21.18 a troy ounce.

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