Copper Sags Most in Three Weeks as China Woes Dim Demand Outlook

  • Chinese industrial output in September slows from month ago
  • Inventories in LME depots climb for first time since Sept. 25

Copper declined the most in more than three weeks as signs of slowing manufacturing added to demand concerns in China, the world’s biggest metals consumer.

China’s industrial output in September climbed 5.7 percent from a year earlier, compared with a 6.1 percent gain in August and economists’ median estimate of 6 percent, government data showed. A separate report showed the slowest quarterly growth in the economy since 2009. Shares of mining companies fell, with Anglo American Plc dropping the most this month in London trading.

“Manufacturing and industrial production in China is really the drag on the economy,” David Meger, the director of metals trading at High Ridge Futures in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “We have concerns about Chinese copper demand going forward, seeing as it’s the world’s No. 1 copper consumer.”

Copper for delivery in three months fell 1.5 percent to settle at $5,206 a metric ton ($2.36 a pound) at 5:50 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange, the biggest decline since Sept. 22. Aluminum, lead, nickel and zinc were also lower, while tin advanced.

Slowing expansion in the biggest metals user has pushed copper prices down about 17 percent this year. Inventories tracked by the LME climbed to 293,575 metric tons on Monday, the first increase since Sept. 25.

In New York, copper futures for December delivery slid 1.5 percent to $2.3675 a pound on the Comex.

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