Copper Drops Ahead of Federal Reserve Minutes, China Trade Data

Copper and zinc declined ahead of minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last meeting that may provide clues on the pace of stimulus and trade data from China, the biggest user of industrial metals.

Copper for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange fell as much as 0.5 percent to $7,286 a metric ton and was at $7,302 at 10:42 a.m. in Tokyo. Zinc retreated 0.5 percent to $1,979 a ton.

Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee’s July 30-31 meeting due today may signal when policy makers plan to taper the $85 billion of monthly bond purchases. The Beijing-based Customs General Administration will release data today for July imports and exports of non-ferrous metals including copper.

“The market is looking for a direction from upcoming economic data,” said Wu Jianguo, an analyst at Maike Futures Brokerage in Shanghai. “Copper prices could climb further if the PMI figures tomorrow continue showing a recovery.”

A manufacturing gauge for China due tomorrow from HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) and Markit Economics will show a preliminary reading for August of 48.2, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. Levels below 50 signal contraction.

Futures for delivery in December on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 0.5 percent to 52,430 yuan ($8,556) a ton. Metal for delivery in December fell 0.3 percent at $3.3325 a pound on the Comex in New York.

On the LME, nickel and lead fell, while aluminum was little changed.

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