Zinc prices fell to a 15-week low after industrial output posted the weakest start to a year since 2009 in China, the world’s biggest user of industrial metals.
Production rose 9.9 percent in the two months ended Feb. 28, trailing estimates by economists, and retail sales fell short of forecasts. Zinc dropped below its 200-day moving average, and aluminum, lead, and tin also declined in London. Nickel was higher.
“Macro numbers out of China released on Friday and over the weekend did not seem to have impressed,” Edward Meir, an analyst at INTL FCStone Inc. in New York, said in a report. “The Chinese economy, while growing, does not seem to be delivering the upside momentum to metals that it once did.”
On the London Metal Exchange, zinc for delivery in three months dropped 0.7 percent to close at $1,960.5 a metric ton at 5:50 p.m. Earlier, the price touched $1,928, the lowest since Nov. 23.
Stockpiles tracked by the LME increased 1 percent to 1.21 million tons. On Dec. 6, inventory of the metal used to rustproof steel reached 1.24 million, the highest since 1994.
Copper rallied 0.2 percent to $7,758 a ton ($3.52 a pound) in London. In New York, futures for May delivery climbed 0.2 percent to settle at $3.517 a pound on the Comex.
Money managers more than doubled wagers on lower copper prices to 16,391 Comex futures and options contracts in the week ended March 5 from a week earlier, according to government data on March 8.