Copper Declines on Mounting China Demand Concern as Miners Drop

  • Metals fall as China data shows slowdown hasn't bottomed
  • Equity drop, oil decline add to losses for commodities

Copper futures fell for the second straight day on signs that the economic slowdown is deepening in China, the world’s biggest metals consumer. Mining stocks declined.

A private report on Wednesday indicated Chinese consumer sentiment weakened in February, while data earlier this week showed declines for manufacturing and services. Adding to the malaise over global growth, world equity markets are slumping amid a drop this year for crude oil. Lower energy prices also cut mining costs, allowing producers to keep up with output even as metals fall, adding to excess supplies.

“It seems as though sentiment remains suspicious of China’ ability to restore some recuperative confidence in the near term,” Michael Turek, head of base metals at BGC Partners Inc. in New York, said by e-mail.

On the Comex, copper futures for delivery in May declined 0.4 percent to settle at $2.101 a pound at 1:13 p.m. in New York, falling for consecutive days for the first time since Feb. 11.

  • A gauge of 18 global large producers of base metals tracked by Bloomberg Intelligence declined 3.4 percent, poised for the biggest two-day loss since Jan. 7.
  • Glencore Plc, which is scheduled to report earnings next week, tumbled 10 percent. BHP Billiton Ltd. sank 8.2 percent in Sydney, the biggest slide since 2008. The world’s largest miner on Tuesday cut its dividend for the first time in 15 years as first-half profit tumbled 92 percent.
  • On the London Metal Exchange, copper, nickel, tin and lead fell. Aluminum and zinc rose.
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