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(Bloomberg) — Base metals drifted lower as traders assessed China’s 2024 economic goals for clues on the prospects for a significant rebound in the construction sector.

Industrial commodities have struggled this year amid a disappointing recovery in the world’s second-largest economy, and investors are closely watching the annual National People’s Congress for demand insights.  

Aside from the broad 5% growth target, Beijing is planning to issue 1 trillion yuan ($139 billion) worth of ultra-long special central government bonds that could support major infrastructure projects.

Still, the initial metals-market reaction signals no expectation of immediate relief from the property downturn and weak manufacturing. There’s also few signs of a ramp-up in construction, even as China enters the usually busy March-April building season.

Copper traded down 0.3% to $8,518.50 a ton on the London Metal Exchange as of 3:27 p.m. local time, following a 0.5% gain Tuesday. Most other metals were mixed, with nickel down 1.1% and aluminum little changed.

–With assistance from Maria Clara Cobo.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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