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Copper Falls in London on Drop in U.S. Industrial Output

Copper fell in London, capping a weekly decline, after a report showed industrial production unexpectedly shrank last month in the U.S., the world’s second-biggest consumer of the metal.

Output at factories, mines and utilities fell 0.1 percent after a 0.4 percent gain in December, figures from the Federal Reserve showed today. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey called for a 0.2 percent rise. Financial markets were closed this week for the Lunar New Year holiday in China, the top metal user.

“There’s been a lot of talk about things getting better in the economy, but it’s baby steps and there are going to be setbacks,” John Petrie, a senior market strategist at Zaner Group in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “This adds to the uncertainty with China out of the market.”

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months decreased 0.4 percent to $8,206 a metric ton ($3.72 a pound) at 5:54 p.m. local time. The price fell 1.1 percent this week.

Manufacturing, which makes up 75 percent of total industrial production in the U.S., dropped after revised data for November and December showed the biggest two-month gain since 1984.

Stockpiles of copper monitored by the LME gained 0.6 percent to 401,675 tons, the highest since November 2011, bourse figures showed. Orders to withdraw the metal from warehouses declined.

Tin and zinc fell in London, while lead, aluminum and nickel advanced.

In New York, copper futures for May delivery gained less than 0.1 percent to $3.7535 a pound on the Comex. The metal fell 0.2 percent this week.

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