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Copper Declines as Slowing China Growth Fuels Demand Concerns

Copper fell for the third time in four sessions on concern that economic growth is slowing in China, the world’s biggest metals consumer.

Bad loans at Chinese banks increased for a third straight quarter in the three months ended June 30, the longest streak in eight years, the China Banking Regulatory Commission said today. Copper held in warehouses in the Asian nation has climbed to about 1 million metric tons, reflecting weak demand, Standard Chartered Plc said in a report distributed yesterday.

“The market continues to struggle on demand patterns, and with China concerns overhanging, it’s not encouraging,” William O’Neill, a partner at Logic Advisors in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, said in a telephone interview. “There’s very little reason on the demand side of the equation to be a buyer right now. Industrial metals aren’t showing much life.”

Copper futures for December delivery fell 0.3 percent to settle at $3.361 a pound at 1:12 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The metal has dropped 3.9 percent this quarter.

Chile, the world’s top producer, lowered its price forecast for this year and 2013 because of ebbing demand. The metal will average $3.52 a pound in 2012, down from a previous estimate of $3.85, and next year’s outlook was trimmed to $3.48 from $3.75, the state copper commission, Cochilco, said yesterday.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months slid 0.4 percent to $7,385.50 a ton ($3.35 a pound)

Zinc, aluminum, nickel, lead and tin also declined in London.

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