Copper Extends Slide to Lowest Since January as Demand May Slow

Copper fell in New York to the lowest price since mid-January as signs of a worsening debt crisis in Europe and slowing growth in China fueled concern that demand for the metal will stall.

Rising bond yields and missed deficit targets in Spain signaled that the region’s fiscal crisis may escalate. Today’s drop for copper is the third straight and follows a report yesterday showing imports of the metal fell from a month earlier in China, the world’s biggest user.

“Concerns about the health of the global economy are weighing on copper,” Frank Cholly, a senior commodity broker at RJO Futures in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “The Euro-zone crisis may reignite. It looks like China is slowing.”

Copper futures for May delivery fell 0.3 percent to settle at $3.6395 a pound at 1:14 p.m. on the Comex in New York, after reaching $3.6305, the lowest since Jan. 17. The metal has dropped 4.1 percent this week, the biggest three-session slump in a month.

Prices have closed lower than the 100-day and 200-day moving averages for the past two days. Falling below the measures can be a bearish signal to some investors who follow historical price patterns.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose 0.1 percent to $8,040 a metric ton ($3.65 a pound).

Also in London, aluminum rose 1.6 percent to $2,099 a ton, the biggest gain since Feb. 24. Alcoa Inc., the largest U.S. producer of the lightweight metal, yesterday reported an unexpected first-quarter profit after orders rose and the company closed higher-cost smelting capacity.

Lead and zinc also gained on the LME, while nickel and tin fell.

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