METALS-Shanghai copper edges up, helped by U.S. jobless data
* Shanghai copper up nearly 1 pct * LME closed for trading until Tuesday * Chinese traders cautious ahead of key U.S. and China data * US jobless claims lowest since 2008 * Coming Up: U.S. nonfarm payrolls, March (Updates prices, adds quotes) By Carrie Ho SHANGHAI, April 6 (Reuters) - Shanghai copper firmed on Friday, tracking slight gains in London prices in the previous session following the release of positive initial jobless claims data from the United States. Caution ruled with the London Metal Exchange closed until Tuesday for the Easter holiday and the release of U.S. nonfarm payrolls numbers DUE later in the day, before key Chinese trade data next week. The most active July copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange inched up 0.8 percent to 60,440 yuan ($9,600)per tonne by the midday close, after Thursday's drop of 0.7 percent on the ShFE and a modest 0.1 percent uptick on the LME. "There hasn't been much movement in copper prices today, with nothing in particular to push things along. Copper is expected to be stuck between 55,000 and 60,000 yuan for a while more," said CRU analyst Qu Yi. "I expect prices to be pushed to the lower end of the range by low spot demand in China in the longer term, but not anything lower than that." Andy Du, director of Orient Futures Derivatives, said, "Any copper price falls will not be drastic since the Chinese government seems to be leaning towards monetary loosening." Lending support to sentiment were initial claims for unemployment benefits in the United States. The figure dropped to the lowest level in nearly four years last week, according to a government report that showed ongoing healing in the labor market. A more important employment report on U.S. nonfarm payrolls will be released later in the day. Economists polled by Reuters expect these figures to show the world's largest economy adding 203,000 jobs last month, representing a fourth straight month of solid job creation and the longest stretch of monthly employment gains topping 200,000 since 1999. Also supporting base metals prices were China shares, which ended up 0.2 percent in thin volume on Friday, moving around a key psychological level as investors awaited a slew of economic data next week which could signal possible policy changes. The Shanghai base metals complex was up 0.9 percent collectively, although the euro is poised to post its worst week in nearly four months. The currency is languishing a little above a three-week low against the dollar on Friday on worries about rising Spanish debt yields. Base metals prices at 0706 GMT Metal Last Change Pct Move YTD pct chg SHFE CU FUT JUL2 60440 470 +0.78 -15.88 SHFE AL FUT JUN2 16190 120 +0.75 -3.86 HG COPPER MAY2 379.55 0.50 +0.00 -14.51 SHFE ZN FUT JUL2 15670 200 +1.29 -19.54 SHFE PB FUT 15680 150 +0.97 -14.55 Shanghai and COMEX contracts show most active months ^ LME 3-m copper in yuan, including 17 pct VAT, minus SHFE third month ($1=6.3153 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Carrie Ho; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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