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Dr. Copper gives troubling prognosis for China's economy

Price of metal has flattened out despite some stronger Chinese data

TOKYO/BEIJING -- While recent economic data has brought a ray of hope into the otherwise gloomy Chinese economy, one closely followed indicator is tempering expectations of a vigorous rebound in the world's second-largest economy.

China's manufacturing sector unexpectedly rebounded in March, according to the government's purchasing managers index (PMI), but copper prices, often viewed as an early indicator of China's economic health, are struggling to perk up.

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