Copper Set for Biggest Quarterly Drop Since June on China

Copper fell, extending a quarterly loss on concern that an economic slowdown in China, the biggest metals consumer, will lower demand.

The metal for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange retreated 0.5 percent to $6,640 a metric ton by 10:05 a.m. in Hong Kong. Prices are down 9.8 percent since the start of the year, poised for the biggest quarterly drop since June.

Official and private gauges of Chinese industrial activity due tomorrow may add to signs of slowing growth in the world’s second-biggest economy. The official Purchasing Managers’ Index for manufacturing will fall to 50.1 in March from 50.2 in February, while data from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics will remain at 48.1, according to analyst estimates in Bloomberg surveys. A number below 50 signals contraction.

“Copper has more downside risks,” said Helen Lau, a commodity analyst at UOB Kay Hian Ltd. in Hong Kong. The slowdown in China will continue with a crash unlikely, which will mean government stimulus will be limited, she said.

Copper futures for May delivery dropped 0.4 percent to $3.028 a pound in New York, while in Shanghai, the contract for June climbed 0.5 percent to 46,680 yuan ($7,512) a ton.

Nickel in London is on course for the biggest quarterly advance since 2010 after Indonesia, the biggest miner of the material used in stainless steel, started an export ban on unprocessed ores on Jan. 12. The metal climbed 14 percent since the start of the year, the biggest gain among the six major base metals on the LME.

On the London exchange, lead rose, while aluminum declined. Zinc and tin were little changed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Davis in Hong Kong at adavis150@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Brett Miller at bmiller30@bloomberg.net Sungwoo Park, Jarrett Banks

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