Copper Heads for Longest Slump in Seven Weeks on Europe

Copper futures fell, capping the longest slump since August, as a bigger-than-expected contraction in Euro-area services and manufacturing added to concern that metals demand will slow.

An index based on a survey of purchasing managers in the currency union that uses the euro dropped to the lowest in more than three years, London-based Markit Economics said today. In Germany, the Ifo institute’s business climate index fell in September. A Bloomberg survey of economists had forecast a rise.

“There are a lot of worries out there about how economies continue to be very sluggish,” Matt Zeman, a strategist at Kingsview Financial in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “The overall sentiment in copper is not good, and people are finding a reason to pull the sell trigger.”

Copper futures for December delivery declined less than 1 percent to settle at $3.568 a pound at 1:21 p.m. on the Comex in New York, dropping for a fifth straight session, the longest slump since Aug. 30. Earlier, the price touched $3.5475, the lowest for a most-active contract since Sept. 7.

Reports showing stronger Chinese manufacturing and higher sales of new houses in the U.S. failed to lift copper. Signs that China’s economy may grow fast enough to allow the government to refrain from additional stimulus measures may be dragging copper lower, Zeman said.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months dropped 0.2 percent to $7,817 a metric ton ($3.55 a pound). Nickel, zinc and tin advanced, while aluminum and lead declined.

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