Copper fell to a one-week low in New York amid signs that economies are weakening in countries that are the world’s biggest consumers of the metal, contributing to a surge in stockpiles that are the highest since 2003.
Germany expanded less than forecast in the first quarter, government statistics showed today. Bank of America Merrill Lynch cut its estimate for growth this year in China, following JPMorgan Chase & Co. by a day. U.S. industrial production declined in April by the most in eight months, the Federal Reserve said. The three nations are the largest copper users.
“Every bit of data lately seems to be showing less industrial production, and less manufacturing is going to be a problem for copper,” Frank Lesh, a trader at FuturePath Trading in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “The buyers just aren’t there, and we’re seeing a buildup in inventories.”
Copper futures for delivery in July fell 0.7 percent to settle at $3.265 a pound at 1:24 p.m. on the Comex in New York, after touching $3.224, the lowest since May 3. Prices tumbled 2.1 percent yesterday and are down 11 percent this year.
German gross domestic product rose 0.1 percent from the fourth quarter, the Federal Statistics Office said, trailing the 0.3 percent gain forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists.
Officials in China, the biggest copper consumer, have little room to rely on stimulus policies or government direct investment, Premier Li Keqiang said in a May 13 speech, according to a transcript. The U.S. is the second-biggest user of the metal, followed by Germany.
Copper stockpiles tracked by the London Metal Exchange climbed 1.4 percent to 627,525 metric tons, the highest since August 2003, on deliveries in Malaysia and New Orleans, daily figures showed. Orders to take the metal from warehouses jumped 8.9 percent to 208,550 tons on bookings in Johor, Malaysia.
On the LME, copper for delivery in three months lost 0.6 percent to $7,198 a ton ($3.26 a pound).
Nickel, zinc, aluminum, tin and lead also fell in London.
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