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April 28 (Bloomberg) -- Jiangxi Copper Co., China’s largest smelter of the metal, reported a 64 percent drop in first-quarter profit because of falling prices.

Net income declined to 347 million yuan ($55.5 million), or 0.10 yuan a share, in the three months ended March 31, compared with 971 million yuan, or 0.28 yuan, a year earlier, Jiangxi Copper said today in a statement. Sales fell 10 percent to 41.3 billion yuan.

Copper is the worst performing metal in London this year amid concern demand from top consumer China is slowing. Lisbon-based International Copper Study Group, an intergovernmental organization of nations involved in the copper business, has predicted a refined metal surplus of about 405,000 metric tons this year, the biggest since 2001.

Jiangxi Copper advanced 0.9 percent to close at HK$13 today in Hong Kong before the earnings announcement, compared with the 0.4 percent drop in the benchmark Hang Seng Index. The stock has declined 13 percent in the past year.

Average copper prices in London were 12 percent lower in the first quarter from a year earlier. The metal dropped to the lowest level since 2010 on March 13 after an unexpected decline in China’s exports and the nation’s first onshore bond default.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Helen Yuan in Shanghai at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jason Rogers at Madelene Pearson, Rebecca Keenan

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