Copper Drops Most in Two Months on Greek Outlook, China Imports

Copper fell the most in two months on signs that a Greek debt-bailout plan may unravel, while imports of the metal declined in China, the world’s largest user.

European finance ministers held back a rescue package for Greece, fueling concern that the continent’s sovereign-debt crisis will hinder the global economy. Copper shipments to China fell in January, the first drop in eight months, while inventories monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange advanced for the ninth straight week to a record.

“The market expected the Greek situation to have a resolution by now, and so the risk appetite has subsided with the uncertainty,” Adam Klopfenstein, a market strategist at Archer Financial Services Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “And any time there’s news of a slowdown in China, that adds to bearish sentiment.”

Copper futures for March delivery fell 2.9 percent to settle at $3.862 a pound at 1:13 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest decline for a most-active contract since Dec. 14. This week, the price slipped 1 percent, snapping a four-week rally.

Imports of unwrought copper and products by China fell to 413,964 metric tons from a record 508,942 tons in December, the General Administration of Customs said today.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months fell 3.2 percent to $8,481 a ton ($3.85 a pound).

Stockpiles monitored by the LME fell 0.3 percent to 312,750 tons, the lowest since Sept. 7, 2009.

Aluminum zinc, nickel, lead and tin also declined in London. An LME gauge of the six industrial metals fell 3 percent, the most in two months.

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