Copper headed for a third quarterly drop, the worst run since 2001, on concern that slower economic growth will damp demand in China, the biggest user. Aluminum, lead, nickel, tin and zinc declined.
Copper for delivery in three months lost as much as 1.7 percent to $6,680 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange and was at $6,687.50 at 1:51 p.m. in Shanghai. The metal has lost 11 percent this quarter, the biggest drop since the July-to-September period in 2011.
China’s central bank said it will use tools to safeguard stability in money markets and tight liquidity is set to ease, giving the first official signs of relief for a cash squeeze in the world’s second-largest economy. Manufacturing is shrinking at a faster pace this month, as a preliminary reading of a Purchasing Managers’ index released by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics fell further from a final reading for May.
“The cash crunch is having an impact on the economy,” Pang Juan, an analyst at Jinrui Futures Co., said by phone from Shenzhen. “Having slid about $1,500 already, copper may find some support at the current level on hedging demand.”
Copper for September delivery fell 1.6 percent to $3.028 a pound on the Comex in New York, while the metal for October delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange retreated 0.9 percent to 48,160 yuan ($7,833) a ton.