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Industrial Metals Drop as China Flash PMI Trails Estimate

Copper slumped to an 18-month low in London and touched levels not seen in Shanghai since 2009 as China’s manufacturing growth trailed estimates. Aluminum, lead, nickel and zinc retreated.

Copper for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange fell as much as 2.5 percent to $6,762.25 a metric ton, the lowest since October 2011, and was at $6,851.5 at 3:06 p.m. in Shanghai. The most-active contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange ended little changed at 49,080 yuan a ton ($7,944) after falling to the lowest price in more than three years

A Purchasing Managers’ Index released today by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics stood at a preliminary reading of 50.5 for April, compared with 51.5 in a Bloomberg News survey and a final reading of 51.6 in March. A number above 50 indicates expansion. The Shanghai Composite Index of stocks dropped 2.6 percent.

“Economic data again fell short of estimates, hitting the stock market and metals,” said Wang Na, an analyst at Guolian Futures Co. “Now all eyes will be on the official PMI data.”

Morgan Stanley lowered its estimates for this year and next for copper, aluminum, nickel, zinc, lead, while reiterating its preference for copper and tin. Copper’s 2013 forecast was cut by 9 percent to $3.53 a pound, or $7,793 a ton, and the 2014 projection was reduced by 3 percent, analysts Peter Richardson and Joel Crane said in a quarterly report today.

The metal for delivery in July on the Comex dropped 1.2 percent to $3.105 per pound.

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