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Copper Falls, Capping Annual Drop, as Global Supply Gains

Copper prices fell in London, capping a 7.2 percent annual decline, as inventories in 2013 climbed for the first time in four years.

Stockpiles monitored by the London Metal Exchange gained 14 percent this year. Mine openings and expansion from Peru to Mongolia will leave a supply surplus of 127,000 metric tons in 2014, Barclays Plc has forecast. Economic growth in China, the world’s biggest user of the metal, has slowed every year since 2010.

“China is going to grow a little slower, and that implies less pressure on the copper market,” Bart Melek, the head of commodity strategy at TD Securities in Toronto, said in a telephone interview. “There’s still been quite a hefty amount of inventory in the world.”

Copper for delivery in three months fell 0.2 percent to close at $7,360 a ton ($3.34 a pound) at 3:20 p.m. local time on the LME. The price climbed 4.4 percent in 2012.

Aluminum, zinc, nickel, lead and tin dropped today in London. All of the prices fell this year with nickel posting the biggest slump at 19 percent. A gauge of the six LME metals declined 8.5 percent in 2013 after gaining 4.5 percent in 2012.

China will grow 7.5 percent in 2014, according to 55 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. That’s down from an estimated 7.6 percent this year and the least since 1990.

Copper futures for March delivery rose 0.4 percent to close at $3.3965 a pound at 1:15 p.m. on the Comex in New York after earlier falling as much as 0.5 percent. Prices lost 7 percent in 2013, marking the second drop in three years.

The LME and the Comex will be shut tomorrow for New Year’s Day holiday.

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