Copper Sags to Four-Week Low on China Profits as Glencore Falls

Glencore Takes Brunt of Global Commodities Rout
  • Price has slid 14% this quarter, heading for most since 2011
  • Mining shares retreat as Glencore falls as much as 31%

Copper fell to the lowest in a month after Chinese industrial companies reported the biggest decline in profit since at least October 2011.

Industrial earnings in China, the world’s biggest copper user, tumbled 8.8 percent from a year earlier, with the largest drops in producers of coal, oil and metals, the National Bureau of Statistics said Monday. Glencore Plc, the Swiss commodities trader and miner, sank to a record low after Investec Plc warned that there was little value for shareholders should weakness in commodity prices persist.

“We continue to use the Chinese economic malaise as a barometer for copper demand moving forward,” David Meger, the director of metals trading at High Ridge Futures in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “Ongoing demand concerns continues to be a drag in the copper market.”

Copper futures for December delivery on the Comex dropped 1.4 percent to settle at $2.2515 a pound at 1:12 p.m. in New York. Earlier, the metal fell to $2.232, the lowest since Aug. 26.

On the London Metal Exchange, aluminum, copper, lead, nickel and zinc declined, while tin advanced.

The China earnings report comes as the Asian nation struggles with excess capacity, sluggish investment and weaker manufacturing.

“Chinese industrial profits came in far lower than before, and that gave traders a bit of a scare,” Sergey Raevskiy, a mining analyst at SP Angel Corporate Finance LLP in London, said by phone. “With commodities so weak, Glencore was a natural target.”

The Bloomberg Commodity Index fell 1.3 percent, with 19 of 22 raw materials in the gauge declining.

Glencore, the miner and commodity trader run by billionaire Ivan Glasenberg, fell as much as 31 to 66.67 pence, the lowest since the company’s $10 billion initial public offering in 2011. The stock declined 23 percent last week.

Shares of Anglo American Plc and Freeport-McMoran Inc. fell at least 9 percent on Monday.

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