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Copper Drops to Lowest Since August on Europe’s Woes

Copper futures dropped to the lowest in almost seven months on speculation that European debt turmoil will damp the region’s economy and erode metal demand.

Cypriot lawmakers rejected an unprecedented levy on bank deposits. The plan, proposed by euro area finance ministers over the weekend, sent copper down yesterday by the most in four months. Shipments of Japan’s copper-wire and cable fell in February, while a measure of global inventory of the metal rose to the highest since 2003.

“The European concerns are causing buyers to step aside,” David Meger, the director of metal trading at Vision Financial Markets in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “Japan shipments fell, and we’re seeing higher inventories, so that’s giving pause to those expecting higher demand.”

On the Comex in New York, copper futures for delivery in May fell 0.7 percent to close at $3.4055 a pound at 1:14 p.m. After the settlement, the metal touched $3.388, the lowest for a most-active contract since Aug. 21.

Stockpiles monitored by exchanges in London, the U.S. and Shanghai have surged 44 percent this year to 847,559 metric tons, the highest since November 2003.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months fell 0.6 percent to $7,530 a ton ($3.42 a pound). Lead, nickel and tin declined, aluminum was little changed and zinc gained.

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