Copper Futures Decline as Weak U.S. Payrolls Damp Demand Outlook

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Copper futures fell to a two-week low after employers in March added the fewest workers since 2013, damping the outlook for demand in the U.S., the world’s second-largest metal consumer.

Payrolls increased by 126,000 workers, less than the most pessimistic forecast in a Bloomberg survey of analysts, a government report showed Friday. Last week, copper dropped 1.2 percent. That followed three straight gains, the longest rally since July.

“Disappointing jobs data is leading to some weakness across the board for more economic-sensitive assets, including copper,” David Meger, the director of metals trading at High Ridge Futures LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview.

Copper futures for May delivery declined 0.6 percent to settle at $2.717 a pound at 1:22 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The price touched $2.6935, the lowest for a most-active contract since since March 20, after jumping as much as 3.5 percent. In the past 12 months, the metal has dropped 10 percent.

Markets in London and Shanghai were closed for holidays.

China’s composite purchasing managers’ index in March was unchanged at 51.8 from February, according to a private report on Thursday. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. China is the top metal user.

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