Copper Extends Declines Amid Global Economic Health Concerns

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Copper extended declines on concerns that an economic slowdown will damp demand in China and the U.S., the world’s top consumers.

Prices in London slumped for six straight weeks, the longest rout since January. China’s surprise yuan devaluation last week roiled commodity markets and spurred speculation that growth in the country is worse than anticipated. Manufacturing in the New York region dropped at the fastest pace since the recession, the New York Federal Reserve Bank said Monday.

“Copper’s decline is still a continuation of concerns about the global economy and China,” Frank Cholly, a senior market strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “Copper is a really good indicator of the health of the economy.”

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months retreated 1 percent to close at $5,115 a metric ton ($2.32 a pound) at 5:51 p.m. local time, the lowest settlement since July 2009. Prices fell 10 percent in the previous six weeks.

The Bloomberg Industrial Metals Subindex tumbled 20 percent in 2015. Fed policy makers have signaled they’re on course for increasing U.S. interest rates this year, spurring gains for the dollar and cutting the appeal of commodities as alternative assets.

Also on the LME, aluminum, lead, and zinc fell, while nickel and tin rose. On the Comex in New York, copper futures for September delivery dropped 1.3 percent to $2.321 a pound.

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