Copper declined in New York, paring a fifth weekly advance, as European finance ministers held back a rescue package for Greece, fueling concerns that Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis may curb global economic growth.
Greece is missing its debt-cutting targets, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told lawmakers today, intensifying pressure on Greek politicians to deliver on austerity promises. Copper also fell as imports of the metal by China, the biggest buyer, dropped for the first time in eight months in January, while inventories monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange advanced to a record.
“The Greek situation rumbles on with new German pre- conditions,” Andrew Silver, a trader at Natixis Commodity Markets Ltd., said by e-mail today. Copper also fell on the weakness of import figures, the euro and equities and as investors took profits following gains yesterday, he said.
March-delivery copper declined 1.6 percent to $3.9135 a pound by 8:08 a.m. on the Comex in New York. The contract is heading for a 0.3 percent gain this week after yesterday climbing to the highest level since Sept. 16. Copper for delivery in three months slipped 1.8 percent to $8,601.25 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange.
Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said there will be “no disbursement without implementation” of the austerity measures. Greece must pass its latest austerity package into law and identify 325 million euros ($431 million) in spending cuts before euro-area governments endorse a second bailout for the country, Juncker said.
Schaeuble said in Berlin Greece’s plans would leave its debt as high as 136 percent of gross domestic product by 2020, according to two people who took part in a meeting. The euro fell from a two-month high against the dollar, making metals denominated in greenbacks more expensive for users of the single European currency.
Imports (CNIVCOPP) of unwrought copper and products by China were 413,964 tons in January, falling from a record 508,942 tons in December, the General Administration of Customs said today. Arrivals of scrap copper slumped to 230,000 tons from 450,000 tons a month ago. Inventories monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange gained for a ninth straight week, rising 18,311 tons, or 10 percent, to 198,202 tons, according to a survey of 10 warehouses, the exchange said on its website.
“In China, as credit has been tighter, consumers haven’t wanted or been able to afford to hold higher levels of inventory,” David Wilson, an analyst at Citigroup Inc. in London, said by e-mail today. “Consumers are running lower levels of inventory, particularly here in Europe, and this is driven to some extent by macro nervousness.
Stockpiles monitored by the LME fell for a 28th session, declining 0.3 percent to 312,750 tons, the lowest level since Sept. 7, 2009. Orders to draw the metal from LME warehouses declined 1.2 percent to 82,200 tons.
Aluminum, zinc, lead, nickel and tin also fell in London.
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