Copper Retreats as Syria Tension, Fed Tapering Concerns Increase

Sept. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Copper fell for the first time in three days on concerns that the conflict in Syria will deepen and the U.S. Federal Reserve may curtail stimulus, reducing demand for the metal.

Metal for delivery in three months fell as much as 0.6 percent to $7,150 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange and was at $7,178.50 at 2:45 p.m. in Shanghai. The price touched $7,243 yesterday, the highest intraday level since Sept. 4.

President Barack Obama will make his case for U.S. action against Syria in an address to the nation at 9 p.m. Washington time. The U.S. says President Bashar al-Assad’s regime used sarin gas outside of Damascus on Aug. 21, killing more than 1,400 people. The Senate is expected to vote on the resolution by the end of the week. The Fed will cut Treasury purchases to $35 billion from $45 billion, while maintaining mortgage-bond buying at $40 billion, according to the median of 34 responses in a Bloomberg survey released Sept. 6.

“Investors are hesitant to hold their positions because of the uncertainties in Syria and the Fed decision,” said Xiong Dabiao, an analyst at Minmetals Futures Co. in Shanghai. “Investors want timely profits at the moment, which could make the prices volatile.”

The metal pared losses after China released its August industrial output, which grew at the fastest pace in 17 months, adding to signs of a rebound this quarter for the world’s second-biggest economy.

Copper for delivery in December declined 0.7 percent to 51,950 yuan ($8,490) a ton on the Shanghai Futures Exchange. Metal for delivery in December was down 0.4 percent at $3.266 a pound on the Comex in New York.

On the LME, aluminum, tin, nickel, zinc and lead fell.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Alfred Cang in Shanghai at acang@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Poole at jpoole4@bloomberg.net