Copper Falls to 4-Year Low as Oil Tumble Drives a Slump

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Copper futures fell to a four-year low as a rout in the energy market drove raw materials lower. A gauge of six industrial metals posted the biggest weekly drop since February 2013.

On the Comex in New York, copper futures for March delivery tumbled 3.7 percent to settle at $2.846 a pound at 12:13 p.m. Earlier, the price touched $2.8435, the lowest for a most-active contract since June 10, 2010. This week, the metal tumbled 6 percent, the most since December 2011.

Brent crude oil headed for the biggest weekly drop in three years, extending a slump into a bear market, after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries took no action to ease a global supply glut. The Bloomberg Commodity Index of 22 raw materials headed for the biggest decline since September 2011, touching the lowest since May 2009. Metals from aluminum to zinc dropped.

“All commodities are getting sold off with the most important commodity in the world,” Tai Wong, the director of commodity products trading at BMO Capital Markets Corp. in New York, said in a telephone interview. “There’s sympathy with oil looking like it’s in a new, lower paradigm with worries that it could go substantially lower.”

Copper also declined as a strike was set to end at Peru’s Antamina mine. The site, owned by producers including BHP Billiton Ltd., will return to normal operations next week as a three-week walkout ends.

Aggregate trading on the Comex was an estimated 114,411 contracts, the highest since March 19. Volume more than doubled compared with the 100-day average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Copper for delivery in three months tumbled 3.1 percent to $6,351 a metric ton ($2.88 a pound) on the London Metal Exchange. This year, the price has dropped 14 percent, heading for a consecutive annual decline for the first time since 2001.

Nickel and lead declined in London, while tin was unchanged. This week, a LME gauge of the six main metals dropped 4 percent.

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