Industrial metals retreated as manufacturing data from China, the world’s biggest consumer, fell below economists’ expectations. Lead dropped for a second day as nickel declined from the highest level in three months.
Lead for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange slid as much as 0.5 percent to $2,185 a metric ton and traded at $2,186 by 10:50 a.m. in Tokyo. The metal has lost 1.5 percent this month. Nickel fell 0.3 percent to $14,750 a ton after touching $14,815 yesterday, the highest since Oct. 23.
The HSBC/Markit manufacturing January purchasing managers’ index for China was at 49.6, below the 50.3 median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 19 economists. That was a drop from 50.5 in December, with a reading of 50 the threshold for expansion.
“Today’s PMI data for China deepened concern that the country’s growth is slowing, putting downward pressure on metals,” said Kazuhiko Saito, an analyst at Fujitomi Co., a commodities broker in Tokyo.
Markit also releases its preliminary U.S. PMI today while official gauges of manufacturing for the euro zone as well as France and Germany are due. China’s economic growth slowed to 7.7 percent in the final quarter of last year from 7.8 percent in the previous period as industrial output grew at the weakest pace in five months in December, data showed this week.
Copper was little changed at $7,284.50 a ton in London. The metal for delivery in April slid 0.3 percent to 51,500 yuan ($8,509) a ton on the Shanghai Futures Exchange. The contract for delivery in March fell 0.4 percent to $3.324 a pound on the Comex in New York.
On the LME, aluminum, zinc and tin fell.
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