The Asian nation is the world’s largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption last year.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, copper futures for March delivery traded at USD3.317 a pound during European morning trade, down 0.6%. Comex copper prices held in a range between USD3.308 a pound and USD3.337 a pound.
The March contract ended Tuesday’s session down 0.31% to settle at USD3.336 a pound. Copper prices were likely to find support at USD3.289 a pound, the low from January 10 and resistance at USD3.350 a pound, the high from January 14.
Official data released earlier showed that Chinese new loans dropped to CNY482.5 billion in December from CNY624.6 billion in November and missed forecasts of CNY600 billion.
The broad M2 money supply rose 13.6% on year in December, compared to growth of 14.2% in November and below forecast for a 14% increase.
Market players looked ahead to key U.S. economic data later in the day for further indications on the future course of U.S. monetary policy. The U.S. is to release data on producer price inflation and a report on manufacturing activity in the New York region.
Investors have closely been looking out for U.S. data reports recently to gauge if they will strengthen or weaken the case for the Federal Reserve to scale back stimulus.
Data released Tuesday showed that U.S. retail sales rose 0.2% in December, while core retail sales, which excludes auto sales, rose 0.7%.
The upbeat data helped bolster expectations that the economic recovery in the U.S. will continue to deepen this year and offset concerns over last week’s surprising poor nonfarm payrolls report for December.
The central bank is scheduled to meet January 28-29 to review the economy and assess policy. The Fed’s stimulus program is viewed by many investors as a key driver in boosting the price of commodities as it tends to depress the value of the dollar.
Elsewhere on the Comex, gold for February delivery fell 0.7% to trade at USD1,236.70 a troy ounce, while silver for March delivery dropped 1.15% to trade at USD20.05 a troy ounce.