Copper retreated for a third day amid concern over an economic slowdown in China, the world’s largest consumer, as the country’s benchmark share index completed its biggest two-day loss in three weeks. Aluminum, nickel and zinc also declined.
The metal used in power grids and air conditioners fell as much as 1 percent to the lowest level in a week. China’s stocks sank on worries that government measures to support the world’s second-largest equity market and economy are failing. Economic reports on Sunday showed weak industrial output and fixed-asset investment.
“The data from China disappointed the market and damped trading sentiment,” said Xiao Jing, a senior analyst at Beijing Capital Futures Co. Traders are also waiting for the Federal Reserve’s decision Sept. 17 on whether to boost borrowing costs, Xiao said. An increase may strengthen the dollar and make commodities more expensive for buyers in other currencies.
Futures traders are pricing in a 28 percent chance rates will go up after remaining near zero since the 2008 financial crisis. Odds for a December move are at 59 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Glencore Plc’s decision to suspend production at units in Africa is seen supporting copper at about $2.30 a pound, UBS Group AG analysts including Daniel Morgan said in a note dated Sept. 14.
Copper for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange fell to $5,270 a metric ton at 4 p.m. in Shanghai. Futures for December on the Comex in New York lost 0.4 percent to $2.3970 a pound, while Shanghai’s November contract fell 0.7 percent to close at 40,320 yuan ($6,330) a ton.
Aluminum fell 1.2 percent, while zinc dropped 2.3 percent and nickel declined 1.3 percent.
— With assistance by Alfred Cang