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Zinc Falls as Higher German Unemployment Fuels Crisis Concern

Zinc fell in London, leading declines by industrial metals, as an unexpected gain in German unemployment stoked concern the euro-area debt crisis is weighing on regional economies.

The number of people out of work rose in March, Germany’s Federal Labor Agency said today. Economists had predicted a decline. Banks in Cyprus, where a plan to force losses on depositors in exchange for a bailout triggered protests this month, will reopen today under capital controls. The dollar headed for a seventh weekly climb in eight against the euro.

“We’re still watching the euro struggle,” Mark Lewon, president of Salt Lake City-based scrap recycler Utah Metal Works Inc., said by e-mail. A stronger dollar saps demand for raw materials as an alternative investment.

Zinc for delivery in three months dropped 0.8 percent to $1,894 a metric ton by 10:04 a.m. on the London Metal Exchange. Prices reached the lowest level since Nov. 6. Copper fell 0.2 percent to $7,590 a ton and the metal for delivery in May lost 0.3 percent to $3.434 a pound on the Comex in New York.

LME copper is down 4.3 percent this quarter, set for a third drop in four. Inventories of the metal tracked by the exchange surged 78 percent in the period, the biggest jump since the third quarter of 2005, figures compiled by Bloomberg showed.

“Copper is essentially stuck in the mud,” William O’Neill, a partner at Logic Advisors in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, said by e-mail, pointing to “warehouse stocks and European events.” While buyers in China, the world’s biggest copper consumer, have shown some interest in the metal, funds are absent, he said.

Copper stockpiles monitored by the LME rose for a 31st session to 569,775 tons, exchange figures showed today. Orders to remove the metal from warehouses jumped 42 percent to 91,375 tons, the highest since April 30, on gains in New Orleans and Busan, South Korea.

Aluminum, lead, nickel and tin fell in London. The LME and Comex floor trading will be shut tomorrow for Good Friday. The LME also will be closed April 1 for Easter Monday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Agnieszka Troszkiewicz in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at

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