Copper Drops as China Home Prices, U.S. Jobs Damp Stimulus Bets

Copper fell to a one-week low in New York as signs of rising home prices in China and an improving job market in the U.S. damped prospects for further economic stimulus in the two largest metal-using countries.

A report today showing price gains last month in 69 of 70 Chinese cities may limit room for the government to spur economic growth, said Wu Kan, a Shanghai-based fund manager at Dazhong Insurance Co., which oversees $285 million. U.S. applications for unemployment benefits fell to a two-month low, amid speculation that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will reduce the central bank’s bond-buying program.

“We’ve seen conflicting economic data lately, and the market is in a bit of a summer funk, so copper continues to flounder,” Frank Cholly, a senior commodities broker at RJO Futures in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “You need the whole global economy moving in the same direction to get things back on track.”

Copper futures for delivery in September slipped 0.4 percent to $3.117 a pound at 10:28 a.m. on the Comex in New York, after falling to $3.1065, the lowest since July 11.

Signs of increased production also discouraged buyers. Anglo American Plc (AAL), which mines copper in Chile, said its quarterly output gained 14 percent.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months fell 0.1 percent to $6,880.50 a metric ton ($3.12 a pound).

Lead, tin, aluminum, nickel and zinc also slid in London.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Richter in New York at jrichter1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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