The copper market started this holiday-shortened week under heavy pressure, as events in North Africa and the Middle East have been widely seen as elevating risk concerns throughout the industrial metals complex. Severe losses from global equity markets have also added to the negative tone, and March copper has now reached the lowest prices levels since late January. Last week's Chinese bank reserve requirement hike is thought to be weighing on the market as well, although Shanghai copper prices did show some early strength during today's session. Updated forecasts calling for a more than 10% jump in copper production from Zambia during 2011 may provide a positive factory for the market. News that Japanese copper cable and wire shipments during were up nearly 5% also was thought to be a supportive factor for the market, but those gains were mostly due to a huge jump in exports. On the other hand, rising copper stocks levels on both the LME and Shanghai exchanges have been widely seen as adding to an increasingly negative tone for the market.
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