Industrial metals dropped ahead of manufacturing data for China, the biggest user of industrial metals, and minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last meeting that may provide clues on the pace of stimulus.
Copper for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange fell as much as 0.5 percent to $7,286 a metric ton and was at $7,315 at 4:01 p.m. in Tokyo. Zinc retreated 0.6 percent to $1,977.75 a ton.
Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee’s July 30-31 meeting due today may signal when policy makers plan to taper the $85 billion of monthly bond purchases. A manufacturing gauge for China due tomorrow from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics will show a preliminary reading for August of 48.2, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. Levels below 50 signal contraction.
“The market is looking for a direction from upcoming economic data,” said Wu Jianguo, an analyst at Maike Futures Brokerage in Shanghai. “Copper prices could climb further if the PMI figures tomorrow continue showing a recovery.”
Refined copper imports by China rose to 291,846 tons in July from 254,339 tons a year ago, General Administration of Customs said today. Arrivals were 277,696 tons in June, the data showed.
Futures for delivery in December on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose 0.6 percent to 52,470 yuan ($8,569) a ton. The contract for delivery in December fell 0.4 percent at $3.329 a pound on the Comex in New York.
On the LME, nickel, aluminum, tin and lead also dropped.