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Copper Drops on Federal Reserve Minutes, Increasing Stockpiles

April 4 (Bloomberg) -- Copper declined as policy-meeting minutes from the Federal Reserve damped expectations for further monetary stimulus and increasing stockpiles signaled weaker demand. Nickel, zinc and lead fell.

Three-month copper fell as much as 1.3 percent to $8,500 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange and traded at $8,517.25 at 3:18 p.m. in Tokyo. The May-delivery contract lost 1.2 percent to $3.8715 a pound on the Comex. Markets in China, the world’s biggest user, are shut today for a holiday.

Minutes from the March 13 meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, or FOMC, showed that policy makers are holding off on increasing stimulus unless the economic expansion falters or prices rise at a rate slower than the Fed’s 2 percent target. Asian stocks fell the most in seven weeks today after U.S. shares slid and the dollar rallied yesterday.

Copper was “down mildly as disappointment after the U.S. FOMC minutes offset the positive U.S. manufacturing and factory orders data over the last couple of days,” Mark Pervan and Natalie Robertson, analysts at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., said in a report today.

Stockpiles monitored by the LME rose for a third session yesterday after falling to the lowest level since 2008 last month. Inventories tracked by the Shanghai Futures Exchange were close to the highest level since at least 2003 in March.

LME stockpiles advanced 1.2 percent to 260,650 tons, exchange figures showed, as supplies increased at the U.S. ports of Baltimore and New Orleans and at Incheon, South Korea. SME-tracked holdings peaked at 227,276 tons last month.

Nickel dropped 2.5 percent to $17,985 a ton on the LME, declining for the first time in four days. Zinc fell 1.3 percent to $1,995.75 a ton, while lead lost 1.5 percent to $2,040 a ton, falling for the first time in six days. Aluminum fell 0.5 percent at $2,114.50 a ton and tin slumped 1.1 percent to $22,775 a ton.

To contact the reporter for this story: Jae Hur in Tokyo at jhur1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jarrett Banks at jbanks15@bloomberg.net

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