Copper Falls on Demand Risk

Copper futures fell for the third time in four sessions on mounting concern that a slower economy will curb demand in China, the world’s top metals consumer.

In the third quarter, the Chinese economy probably grew at the slowest pace since 2009, the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey showed before official figures due tomorrow. As Asian demand weakens, inventories monitored by the London Metal Exchange will rise over the next six months while supplies increase, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in a report Oct. 17.

“The attention is going to shift to China,” Tim Evans, the chief market strategist at Long Leaf Trading Group Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “If we continue to see poor data there, where does the growth come from? That conversation will continue to dominate the copper market moving forward.”
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Copper futures for December delivery dropped 0.9 percent to $2.9765 a pound at 11:03 a.m. on the Comex in New York. The metal touched $2.9515 on Oct. 17, the lowest since March.

On the LME, copper for delivery in three months fell 1.2 percent to $6,556.50 a metric ton ($2.98 a pound).

Zinc, lead and nickel declined in London, while tin and aluminum advanced.
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Nickel has a “positive” outlook after prices plunged 13 percent in September, Andreas Hommert, the head of research and partner at Citrine Capital Management LLC, said in an interview yesterday in London, where he was attending the start of LME Week.

David Wilson, an analyst at Citigroup Inc., said at the LME’s seminar today that aluminum’s demand outlook is the best among the industrial metals. Leon Westgate, an analyst at Standard Bank, said lead has the most upside through 2017.

An LME survey of attendees at the seminar today showed that zinc is favored among metals for next year.

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