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Copper Declines Most in a Month on China’s Slowing Demand

Feb. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Copper fell the most in three weeks in New York after Shanghai Securities News reported that some banks in China are curbing real-estate loans, signaling slower demand growth from the world’s largest metal-consuming country.

Industrial Bank Co. and other banks tightened lending to property companies and some related industries, such as steel and cement, Shanghai Securities News reported today. The Copper Development Association says construction generates about 40 percent of demand for the metal. New-house price growth in China’s first-tier cities slowed in January, another report showed. Prices in New York have fallen 9 percent from a year ago as economic growth in China slowed.

“We are seeing broad-based weakness in the metals space, as concerns about China are once again dragging values lower,” Edward Meir, an analyst at INTL FCStone in New York, wrote in a note today. Slowing home-price gains in China “may also explain the rumored move by the banks,” he said.

Copper futures for delivery in May fell 0.6 percent to $3.24 a pound on the Comex in New York, the biggest drop for a most-active contract since Jan. 31.

Stockpiles of copper monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange reached a nine-month high, according to data released Feb. 21. Demand for industrial buildings and construction products is slowing at a “dramatic” pace in China, BlueScope Steel Ltd., Australia’s biggest steelmaker, said today. The company has 32 Chinese offices.

Aluminum, copper, tin, nickel and lead also declined in London as zinc gained.

To contact the reporters on this story: Maria Kolesnikova in London at mkolesnikova@bloomberg.net; Luzi Ann Javier in New York at ljavier@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Millie Munshi at mmunshi@bloomberg.net

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