Copper futures declined for the first time in four sessions amid concern that the Federal Reserve will move next week to curb its monetary stimulus, slowing the economy and reducing metals demand.
U.S. service industries expanded in August at the fastest pace in almost eight years, and manufacturing gained, separate reports showed last week. The Fed will probably cut its monthly bond-buying by $10 billion to $75 billion when policy makers meet Sept. 17-18, according to economists in a Bloomberg survey published Sept. 6. Through yesterday, copper prices declined 10 percent this year partly on demand concerns.
“The market is continuing to weigh the likelihood that Fed tapering is coming,” Tim Evans, the chief market strategist at Long Leaf Trading Group in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “That’s going to give us a choppy market for the next week or so.”
Copper futures for delivery in December fell 0.4 percent to $3.2635 a pound at 11:54 a.m. on the Comex in New York. The metal climbed 1.1 percent in the previous three sessions.
Signs that demand may quicken in China helped stem the declines. Chinese industrial production expanded at the fastest pace in 17 months in August, the nation’s statistics bureau said today. The Asian nation and the U.S. are the world’s biggest copper consumers.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months dropped 0.3 percent to $7,172 a metric ton ($3.25 a pound).
Aluminum, tin, nickel, zinc and lead also slid in London.
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