Copper settled -0.31% down at 422.45 by slower growth of manufacturing activity in top consumer China, where post-holiday buying has yet to pick-up aggressively. Weighing on sentiment was data showing China's HSBC flash PMI for February slipped to a four-month low of 50.4 from January's final reading of 52.3. The flash PMI still indicated a fourth consecutive month of expansion. In addition, trade data showed imports of the metal into China, which consumes about 40 percent of the world's copper, reached just 243,174 tonnes in January, down 27.51 percent from a year ago. Investors are now growing nervous again over euro zone debt, partly in light of an election in Italy, and about US monetary policy and budget woes. Testimony from Bernanke may offer investors clues about when the Fed intends to rein in its ultra-loose monetary policy, but they still have to contend with the looming fiscal cliff. In a replay of tensions seen at the end of last year, the world's biggest economy faces automatic spending cuts in most government programmes on March 1 if Washington can't come up with a budget deal. Traders expect physical purchases to pick up from this week as China's manufacturing sector returns to work after the Lunar New Year break. However, the seasonal upturn in demand may not necessarily push prices much higher. Supporting sentiment, BlackRock Inc. has won approval from the US securities regulator to list and trade its copper exchange-traded fund. For today's session market is looking to take support at 420.6, a break below could see a test of 418.8 and where as resistance is now likely to be seen at 424.5, a move above could see prices testing 426.6.
Copper trading range for the day is 418.8-426.6.
Copper ended with losses due to slower growth of manufacturing activity in China, where post-holiday buying has yet to emerge.
China’s HSBC Flash PMI, the earliest indicator of the country's industrial activity, fell to a four-month low of 50.4 in February.
SEC gives second approval to a U.S. physical copper exchange-traded fund