Investing.com - Copper futures declined on Thursday, after data showed that manufacturing activity in China fell to a seven-month low in February, further suggesting that the world''s second-largest economy may be facing a slowdown.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, copper futures for March delivery traded in a range between $3.257 a pound and $3.288 a pound.
Copper prices last traded at $3.268 a pound during European morning hours, down 0.55%. The March copper contract ended Wednesday’s session unchanged to settle at $3.285 a pound.
Futures were likely to find support at $3.253 a pound, the low from February 18 and resistance at USD3.302 a pound, the high from February 19.
Data released earlier showed that China’s HSBC Flash Purchasing Managers Index fell to 48.3 in February from a final reading of 49.5 in January, remaining below the 50.0 level that separates expansion from contraction for a second month.
Copper traders consider shifts in the HSBC PMI an indicator of China''s copper demand, as the industrial metal is widely used by the sector.
The Asian nation is the world’s largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption last year.
Meanwhile, copper traders looked ahead to key U.S. economic data later in the day to gauge the strength of the world’s largest economy and second-biggest consumer of the industrial metal.
The U.S. is to release the weekly report on initial jobless claims and data on consumer price inflation. The nation is also to release data on manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region.
Minutes of the Federal Reserve’s January meeting published Wednesday indicated that the central bank will maintain the current pace of reductions to its stimulus program, as long as the economy continues to improve as expected.
Elsewhere on the Comex, gold for April delivery shed 0.45% to trade at $1,314.20 a troy ounce, while silver for March delivery dropped 1% to trade at $21.63 a troy ounce.