Copper Falls on Bets U.S. Budget Impasse to Crimp Economy

Dec. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Copper futures fell as concerns mounted that a U.S. budget impasse will damp prospects for the economy and metal demand.

Lawmakers said they were losing confidence that Congress and President Barack Obama can reach a deal within a week to avoid more than $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts that may trigger a recession. Last week, copper dropped 3.1 percent, the most in six months.

“Investors are very nervous about this entire issue,” Bart Melek, the Toronto-based head of commodity strategy at TD Securities, said in a telephone interview. “The deadline is approaching, and there seems to be no resolution in sight.”

Copper futures for March delivery dropped 0.6 percent to settle at $3.546 a pound at 12:19 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The metal has gained 3.2 percent this year.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months declined 0.3 percent to $7,810 a metric ton ($3.54 a pound).

Stockpiles monitored by the LME rose for the 13th straight session, the longest advance since January 2011.

Aluminum, nickel and zinc fell, while lead and tin rose in London.

To contact the reporters on this story: Agnieszka Troszkiewicz in London at; Debarati Roy in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at