Copper fell for the first time in four days after a private gauge of Chinese factory production signaled a fourth month of contraction, curbing demand prospects in the world’s biggest user of industrial metals.
The contract for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange retreated as much as 0.4 percent to $6,646 a metric ton and was at $6,652 by 10:47 a.m. in Tokyo. The metal has lost 9.6 percent this year, the worst performer among the six main metals traded on the LME.
The preliminary April reading of 48.3 for a Purchasing Managers’ index in China released today by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics compares with March’s final figure of 48 and the 48.3 median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of economists. Readings below 50 signal contraction.
“A slowdown in China’s economic growth is a key factor to put downward pressure on metals,” said Hiroyuki Kikukawa, the general manager of research at Nihon Unicom Inc. in Tokyo.
China’s growth in gross domestic product slowed to 7.4 percent in the first quarter from 7.7 percent in the previous period, compared with a 7.5 percent annual target.
Nickel in London rose 0.9 percent to $18,495 a ton after touching $18,525, the highest level since February 2013, on concern that escalating tensions in Ukraine may disrupt supplies from Russia amid Indonesia’s ban on ore exports.
On the LME, zinc, aluminum and lead climbed, while tin fell.
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