Copper Extends Decline as Chinese Data Reduce Easing Speculation

Copper declined for a second day after data showed China’s manufacturing accelerated in April, damping speculation that the world’s second-largest economy will add monetary stimulus to support growth. Aluminum dropped.

Three-month delivery copper fell as much as 0.4 percent to $8,367.50 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange and traded at $8,385 at 3:12 p.m. Tokyo time. The contract retreated 0.5 percent in April, a second monthly decline. July-delivery metal was little changed at $3.8235 a pound on the Comex. The Shanghai Futures Exchange is closed for a public holiday.

The Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 53.3 last month from 53.1 in March, China’s statistics bureau and logistics federation said in a statement today. The data signal China may be strengthening from the slowest pace of growth in almost three years, reached last quarter.

“Improvement in China’s manufacturing may give an excuse for the nation not to issue additional stimulus immediately, as the Chinese government is still struggling with inflationary pressure,” Ken Kajisa, an analyst at broker ACE Koeki Co. in Tokyo, said today by phone.

China’s PMI for April was the highest reading in a year and compares with the 53.6 median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 27 economists. A figure above 50 indicates expansion. At issue for Premier Wen Jiabao is whether to extend a two-month pause in lowering banks’ required reserve ratios, as he seeks to rein in property and consumer prices without sending the economy into a so-called hard landing.

Copper was also dragged down by concerns about U.S. and European economies as American business activity expanded at the slowest pace since November 2009, and Spain’s economy sank into recession, Kajisa said. The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago Inc. said yesterday its barometer decreased to 56.2, lower than the most pessimistic forecast in a Bloomberg News survey, from 62.2 in March.

Aluminum in London dropped 0.3 percent to $2,112.75 per ton, zinc was little changed at $2,060.50 a ton and lead was little changed at $2,145.75 a ton. Tin was little changed at $22,750 per ton and nickel climbed 0.3 percent to $17,939 a ton.

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