Copper Set for Secnd Monthly Loss on China Concern, Yuan

Copper traded near the lowest in more than two months on concern China’s slowing growth and a weaker yuan may reduce demand for the metal in the world’s biggest user.

The contract for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange was little changed at $7,034.25 a metric ton by 4:24 p.m. in Tokyo after trading between $7,054 and $6,995. Futures touched $6,993.50 yesterday, the lowest intraday level since Dec. 4. The price has lost 0.4 percent this month, extending a 4 percent drop in January.

An official report tomorrow may show China’s manufacturing expanded this month at the slowest pace since June, with a private gauge next week projected to show slowdown. The yuan tumbled by the most on record on speculation the central bank will widen the currency’s trading band, allowing greater volatility at a time when growth is slowing in the country.

“The yuan’s weakness deepened concern that China’s growth is slowing,” said Chae Un Soo, a metals trader at Korea Exchange Bank Futures Co. in Seoul. Investors will closely watch China’s official and private manufacturing reports in the coming days, he said.

Lawmakers will meet next week to decide on major economic policies and growth targets. A weaker yuan increases import costs for commodities from copper to oil to corn.

The metal for delivery in May on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was little changed to close at 49,280 yuan ($8,004) a ton, capping a second monthly decline. The contract for May delivery on the Comex in New York was little changed at $3.204 a pound, up 0.2 percent this month.

On the LME, tin and lead were little changed, while zinc and nickel rose. Aluminum rose 0.3 percent, heading for the biggest monthly gain since November 2012.

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