Copper futures fell for the third time in four sessions after German unemployment rose more than expected and the International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for economic growth in China, the world’s top metal consumer.
A government report showed the number of people out of work in Germany climbed a seasonally adjusted 21,000, exceeding the 5,000 increase forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists. The IMF said China’s economy will expand 7.75 percent this year and next, down from an April forecast of 8 percent for 2013 and 8.2 percent in 2014. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. resumed some operations at its Grasberg mine in Indonesia after a deadly accident on May 14 halted output.
“The German jobless figures, coupled with more signs of a cooling economy in Asia, are weighing on copper,” Harry Denny, a broker at PVM Futures Inc. in Hoboken, New Jersey, said in a telephone interview. “Talk of Grasberg restarting was just too much for the market to carry at this point.”
Copper futures for July delivery slid 0.5 percent to settle at $3.297 a pound at 1:08 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The price has dropped 9.7 percent this year.
Grasberg may reach a full daily production rate of 140,000 metric tons of ore in as soon as three days, said Rozik B. Soetjipto, the president director of PT Freeport Indonesia. The company needs approval to start underground mining.
BHP Billiton Ltd.’s Escondida site in Chile is the largest copper mine, followed by Grasberg. The U.S. is the second-biggest user of the metal, followed by Germany.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months fell 0.8 percent to $7,265 a ton ($3.30 a pound). Tin and nickel dropped, while aluminum, lead and zinc rose.