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Base Metals Extend Decline as China Data Trail Estimates

Industrial metals declined as China’s economic growth unexpectedly lost momentum, raising concern that demand from the biggest user may falter.

Copper for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange fell as much as 1.8 percent to $7,273 a metric ton, the lowest since June 22, before trading at $7,342 at 2:40 p.m. in Shanghai. Lead dropped as much as 2.1 percent while nickel lost as much as 2.5 percent. The LME Index of six primary base metals tumbled the most in a year on April 12.

China’s economy expanded 7.7 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said today, compared with a median estimate of 8 percent in a Bloomberg News survey and 7.9 percent in the fourth quarter. Industrial output rose 8.9 percent in March from a year ago, slower than an estimate of 10.1 percent. Fixed-asset investment excluding rural households gained 20.9 percent in the first quarter, falling short of a forecast of 21.3 percent.

“The data is too bad,” Che Hongyun, an analyst at Galaxy Futures Co., said by phone from Beijing. “People thought the fourth quarter was the bottom, but the data showed there’s no material improvement.”

World Bank said in a report today Asia’s emerging economies should consider reining in monetary stimulus to curb the risks of asset bubbles and inflation, and cut its forecast for China’s growth to 8.3 percent from 8.4 percent previously.

Copper for delivery in August on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 3.3 percent to 53,360 yuan ($8,623) a ton, the lowest level since June. The May futures contract on the Comex lost 1.6 percent to $3.308 a pound.

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