Copper fell to the lowest level in two weeks as mined output of the metal by Rio Tinto Group increased more than forecast.
Copper for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange dropped 0.2 percent to $7,984.50 a metric ton at 3:33 p.m. Shanghai time, the lowest since Dec. 31. Copper for March delivery on the Comex in New York was little changed at $3.6275 per pound.
Rio Tinto Group, the world’s second largest mining company, said output of mined copper in the fourth quarter rose 20 percent to 163,900 tons on higher grades at Escondida, the world’s biggest copper mine. Refined copper production gained 7 percent to 86,200 tons.
“There seems to be ample supplies around,” Xu Liping, an analyst at HNA Topwin Futures Co., said by phone from Shanghai. “There is no stockpiling going on here as the metal is easily available, and demand may be affected more as construction companies here halt operations in the next couple of weeks before the Chinese New Year.”
Stockpiles tallied by the Shanghai Futures Exchange climbed to 209,096 tons last week, the highest since the week ended April 20. Markets in China will be closed for the week of Feb. 11 for public holidays.
Futures for April delivery on the SHFE fell 1.4 percent to 57,700 yuan ($9,283) a ton. On the LME, aluminum, zinc, lead and tin declined, while nickel gained.
— With assistance by Helen Sun