Copper Pares Gains After U.S. Home Sales Slump to 10-Month Low

  • Consumption for building materials seen slowing: Zaner
  • Aluminum and other industrial metals decline in London

Copper pared gains as other industrial metals declined after a U.S. government report showed purchases of new homes slumped last month to the lowest since November, adding to demand concerns.

The housing figures Monday from the U.S., the world’s largest copper consumer after China, dim prospects for the metal used in pipes and wiring amid slowing growth abroad. In Germany, the third-largest user, business confidence fell for the first time in four months. Copper futures have fallen 17 percent this year.

“Building involves a lot of wiring,” Peter Thomas, a senior vice president at Zaner Group LLC, a metals broker in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “We’re seeing some indicators that there’s a very good chance that we could see consumption for building materials slow down.”

Copper for December delivery added 0.3 percent to settle at $2.357 a pound at 1:16 p.m. on the Comex in New York, after gaining as much as 1.3 percent. On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months rose 0.3 percent to $5,191 a metric ton ($2.35 a pound).

Construction generates about 40 percent of demand for the metal, according to the Copper Development Association.

Aluminum, zinc, tin and nickel fell on the LME, while lead gained.

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