Copper underwhelmed by growth prospects

The price of copper is broadly unchanged on the day, as traders fail to get excited about the recent spate of encouraging economic data.

Copper has been trading within a tight range for the past two days, despite positive manufacturing figures that have emerged from the eurozone, US and UK in the past 24 hours. The red metal has remained within the 325 and 327 cents per pound range, ignoring indications that an expanding manufacturing sector could increase demand for it.

At the beginning of the week, China revealed another rise in its services business activity index. The services sector may not in itself require much copper, but its expansion implies that the Chinese economy is growing.

Traders are sitting on their hands ahead of two interest rate decisions tomorrow. Analysts are not expecting any change of monetary policy from the Bank of England, but we could see a rate cut from the European Central Bank, or perhaps a liquidity injection which could stimulate demand for copper.

The US will announce the non-farm payrolls and unemployment report on Friday. If the jobless rates drop, it could indicate imminent tapering of the bond-buying scheme. This could push copper lower.

High-grade copper chart

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