Copper Set for Third Weekly Decline Amid Rising Stockpiles

Copper traded near an eight-month low, poised for a third weekly drop, on concern that growth is slowing in China, the biggest user, and as global inventories continued to climb.

Metal for delivery in three months fell 0.2 percent to $7,424 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange at 2:55 p.m. in Seoul. Prices are down 1.5 percent this week and yesterday touched the lowest since Aug. 3. Futures for May delivery were down 0.2 percent at $3.344 a pound on the Comex in New York. Markets in China are closed today for a national holiday.

Inventories tracked by the LME rose for a 34th session to 579,175 tons, daily exchange figures showed. That’s the most metal since October 2003. Reports this week showed an official gauge of Chinese manufacturing for March came in lower than analysts forecast, while euro-area services output shrank more than initially estimated last month.

“Questions about growth in China and continued problems in Europe will likely cap gains for now,” RBC Capital Markets said in a report e-mailed today. “Falling bonded warehouse stocks of copper along with rising physical premiums in China will likely prove supportive through the second quarter.”

Stockpiles in bonded warehouses in China will fall by 80,000 to 100,000 tons in April, Macquarie Group Ltd. said in e-mailed report on April 4. Prices won’t fall sustainably below $7,000 a ton until 2014, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in an e-mailed report today.

Workers at Chilean copper mines owned by BHP Billiton Ltd. and Anglo American Plc are preparing protests to push for greater job security at a time when a strike at a port is restricting exports by 60 percent after Angamos port workers started protests March 16.

On the LME, zinc and lead declined, while tin and nickel rose.

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