Copper futures rose to the highest level in six weeks on Thursday, before trimming gains to trade little changed as investors looked ahead to key U.S. economic data later in the day to further gauge the strength of the economy and the need for stimulus.
The U.S. is to produce data on retail sales as well as the weekly report on initial jobless claims.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, copper futures for March delivery traded at USD3.295 a pound during European morning trade, flat on the day. Comex copper prices climbed to a session high of USD3.309 a pound earlier, the strongest level since November 1.
Copper prices were likely to find support at USD3.256 a pound, the low from December 11 and resistance at USD3.325 a pound, the high from November 1.
The March contract settled 0.87% higher on Wednesday to end at USD3.295 a pound after a bipartisan budget deal from Congress eliminated the possibility of a potential U.S. government shutdown, which was scheduled to start on January 15.
Copper traders awaited updates from China’s annual Central Economic Work Conference, which began on Tuesday, where policymakers will set economic growth targets and policy priorities for 2014.
The Asian nation is the world’s largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption last year.
Elsewhere on the Comex, gold and silver futures tumbled amid growing speculation the Federal Reserve will start to reduce stimulus measures at next week’s policy meeting.
Gold for February delivery dropped 1.15% to trade at USD1,242.90 a troy ounce, while silver for March delivery plunged 1.9% to trade at USD19.96 a troy ounce.
The central bank is scheduled to meet December 17-18 to review the economy and assess monetary policy.
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