Copper Caps Worst Week Since January as Glut Concerns Mount

  • Stockpiles on LME post first consecutive gains in 2 months
  • Copper drops 3.8 percent for biggest weekly loss since Jan. 8

Copper capped the biggest weekly loss since January amid mounting concern over the pace of production cuts amid signs of slowing demand.

A glut of refined metal and weakness in China, the world’s largest consumer, may maintain pressure on prices, Ken Hoffman, a senior industry analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, said in a report Thursday. China’s refined-copper production has surged, he said. The U.S. Federal Reserve signaled caution over the global economy in minutes of its March 15-16 meeting released on Wednesday.

“Further structural adjustments to surpluses are required, and unless and until they are implemented it will be difficult to stage a meaningful and sustainable rally,” Michael Turek, the head of base metals at BGC Partners Inc. in New York, said in an e-mail.

Copper for delivery in three months slid less than 0.1 percent to settle at $4,650 a metric ton ($2.11 a pound) at 5:50 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange. Prices fell 3.8 percent for the week, the biggest drop since January 8.

Only a quarter of 16 traders, analysts and producers surveyed at an industry gathering in Santiago this week said copper has reached a bottom. The median forecast among the other 12 respondents was for prices to fall to $4,000 a metric ton in the next year. Copper inventories on the LME rose 0.5 percent to 145,675 tons on Friday, gaining for consecutive days for the first time since Jan. 29.

In other metals:

  • On the LME, aluminum, zinc, nickel and tin gained, while lead dropped.
  • Copper futures for May delivery rose 0.5 percent to $2.087 a pound on the Comex in New York.
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