Copper was poised for the biggest monthly decline since October as weakness in Japanese and South Korean industrial output added to global demand concerns.
Copper for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange fell as much as 0.7 percent to $7,104 a metric ton and was at $7,154.75 at 2:05 p.m. in Tokyo. The metal has retreated 5.1 percent this month. Futures for delivery in July on the Comex rose 0.4 percent to $3.239 per pound. Markets in China are closed through May 1 for public holidays.
Japan’s production gained 0.2 percent from the previous month, less than the median 0.4 percent forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 27 economists. South Korea’s output fell 2.6 percent. Today’s data add to signs of a cooling global economy after U.S. gross domestic product rose less than forecast and China reported an unexpected slowdown in the first quarter.
“Data from Japan and South Korea damped metals sentiment amid an absence of Chinese buyers,” said Hwang Il Doo, a senior trader at Korea Exchange Bank Futures Co. in Seoul. Investors are watching the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank this week, he said.
The Federal Reserve will consider renewing its commitment to bond-buying at a two-day meeting that starts today, while most economists in a Bloomberg survey predict the European Central Bank will cut interest rates this week.
On the LME, aluminum, zinc, lead and tin were little changed.