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Copper stuck in tight range as China data weighs

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BEIJING — Copper prices were stuck in a tight range on Wednesday as market participants digested weaker-than-expected China economic data, while hopes grew that Beijing would loosen its strict COVID-19 restrictions.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.2% at $8,050 a tonne by 0207 GMT, while the most-traded January copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange dipped 0.1% to 64,790 yuan ($9,065.72) a tonne.

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China’s factory activity contracted at a faster pace in November, an official survey showed. The official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index stood at 48.0 against a 49.2 reading in October, the National Bureau of Statistics said. Economists in a Reuters poll had expected the reading to come in at 49.0.

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Globally, investors were awaiting Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s speech for insights into the U.S. central bank’s monetary policy path.

The dollar index has fallen from a 20-year high hit on Sept. 28, supporting metals prices as it becomes cheaper for non-dollar holders to buy the greenback-priced commodities.

Meanwhile, a trucker strike in Chile that started last week ended on Tuesday after trucker groups signed an agreement with business organizations and the government to improve conditions.

Among other metals, aluminum held at $2,380 a tonne, zinc added 0.4% to $2,946 a tonne and lead climbed 0.4% to $2,142.5 a tonne, and tin was unchanged at $22,788 a tonne.

SHFE aluminum fell 0.7% to 18,820 yuan a tonne, nickel jumped 3% to 199,460 yuan a tonne, zinc was down 0.6% at 23,795 yuan a tonne, and tin climbed 0.2% to 185,140 yuan a tonne.

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($1 = 7.1467 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)


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