Copper falls on cooling Chinese economy

SHANGHAI Mon Apr 9, 2012 11:03pm EDT

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Copper retreated on Tuesday as investors digested data showing a rise in China's inflation rate, while anticipating more figures indicating a slowdown in the country's import and export numbers due later in the day.

The spate of gloomy Chinese data has been in line with analysts' view that the world's second-largest economy is cooling, not crashing, which accounts for the modest losses in base metals.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.4 percent to $8,325 metric tonne by 0121 GMT, after rising 0.1 percent at its previous session last Thursday ahead of the Easter break.

* The most-active February copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange inched down 0.02 percent to 59,830 yuan ($9,500) per metric tonne, after falling 0.1 percent on Monday.

* China's imports of most commodities, including crude oil and copper, are set to slow in March from February, reflecting weaker economic activity as distortions caused by the Lunar New Year holiday dissipate, traders and analysts said on Monday.

* China's annual inflation rate jumped more than expected in March to 3.6 percent as food prices remained volatile, but economists believe price pressures will moderate over the rest of the year, giving Beijing the flexibility to ease monetary policy to support growth.

* Most major Wall Street firms expect anemic growth in the U.S. jobs market and a struggling economic recovery to force the Federal Reserve to undertake another massive round of monetary stimulus, a Reuters poll found on Monday.

MARKET NEWS

* Global stocks and crude oil fell on Monday after data released last week showed a sharp slowdown in U.S. jobs growth, raising concerns about the strength of the world's largest economy.<MKTS/GLOB>

* The euro was largely steady against the dollar on Tuesday as the market awaits China's trade data and an announcement by the Bank of Japan following a two-day monetary policy meeting.

($1 = 6.3085 Chinese yuan)

(This story corrects timing of French data)

(Reporting by Carrie Ho; Editing by Ed Davies)

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