NEW YORK, Feb 3 (Reuters) - U.S. copper futures fell more than 2 percent and neared the $3.00 per lb level Wednesday morning, as mixed economic data and lingering concerns about tighter Chinese monetary policy continued to counter recovery optimism.
For detailed report on global copper markets, click on [MET/L]
* Benchmark copper for March deliverydropped 7.15 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $3.0180 per lb by 10:46 a.m. EST (1546 GMT) on the New York Mercantile Exchange's COMEX division.
* Range $3.0155 to $3.1440.
* COMEX estimated futures volume at 23,876 lots by 10 a.m.
* Copper weighed down by currency-related selling pressure after data showed smaller-than-forecast drop in U.S. private-sector employment in January. [ID:nWEN9595] [USD/]
* Directionless trade expected in advance of Friday's all-important monthly payrolls data for January - brokers. [ID:nN01161986]
* Copper losses accelerated after data showed less-than-expected rate of growth in U.S. services sector. [ID:nN03361980]
* Negative-sideways trade expected in short-term amid uncertain global economic outlook and dollar/interest rate policy - Frank Lesh, broker and futures analyst with Future Path Trading in Chicago.
* Copper sentiment slammed by Chinese government clampdown on bank credit. [ID:nTOE61201R]
* London Metal Exchange copper warehouse stocks fell 675 tonnes to 540,475 tonnes on Wednesday. <0#LME-STOCKS>
* COMEX copper stocks gained 355 to 103,975 short tons as of Tuesday.
* India's copper demand likely to grow by at least 7 percent in financial year 2010/11 on strong power infrastructure sector. [ID:nSGE6120DK]
* Chilean copper miner Antofagasta Plc2009 copper production down 7.4 percent at 442,500 tonnes. [ID:nLDE6112DO]
* LME benchmark copper for three-month deliveryat $6,662 a tonne, down $158 from Tuesday close. (Reporting by Chris Kelly; Editing by Walter Bagley)
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.