Copper Erases Gains for the Year Amid Miners' Bearish Outlook

  • `We got a fair amount of bearish news along the way': RJO
  • LME copper stockpiles increased by 2.8%, most since August

Copper fell the most in three months, erasing gains for the year amid concerns over demand voiced by miners and investors gathering for an industry conference in Chile, the world’s biggest producer.

Prospects for more supplies globally and weak demand in top-user China are damping sentiment. Only a quarter of the 16 traders, analysts and producers surveyed at this week’s industry get-together in Santiago said the metal has reached a bottom. Among the other 12 respondents, the median forecast was for prices to fall 14 percent in the next year from Thursday’s London settlement.

“With the lack of demand right now and the good supply, copper prices have an easy time moving lower,” Frank Cholly, a senior market strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “We got a fair amount of bearish news along the way today and we got a real washout.”

Copper futures for May delivery slid 3.1 percent to settle at $2.0765 a pound at 1:15 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest decline since Jan. 7. The metal is down 2.7 percent this year.

The U.S. Federal Reserve signaled caution over the global economy in minutes of its March 15-16 meeting released on Wednesday.

Global copper inventories climbed the most in three weeks. On the London Metal Exchange, stockpiles increased 2.8 percent, the most since August.

Copper for delivery in three months slid 2.8 percent to $4,650.50 a metric ton ($2.11 a pound) on the LME.

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