Copper Drops as Oil Pares Gain, U.S. Jobless Claims Advance

  • Copper falls for the third time in four trading sessions
  • “It all fell back to Earth,” copper trader Zuccarelli says

Copper dropped for the third time in four days as crude oil prices eased from a six-month high and U.S. unemployment claims unexpectedly rose. Lead fell the most in four years.

Crude futures fell as much as 1.3 percent Thursday after reaching the highest since November. Lower oil prices help reduce production costs, deterring miners from trimming output amid metal gluts. Filings for jobless benefits climbed to a one-year high, adding to concerns about the economy and damping the demand outlook for copper in the U.S.

Copper has fallen in May after three straight months of gains as China, the world’s biggest metals consumer, took steps to cool a speculative frenzy driven by wagers that infrastructure investments would boost demand. Prices also slipped as manufacturing reports in the U.S. and China trailed expectations.

“Crude oil and copper were up significantly higher than we are right now, and it all fell back to Earth,” Eric Zuccarelli, an independent copper trader in New York, said in a telephone interview. “Crude oil and copper have been running in tandem for a while.”

Copper for delivery in three months fell 2 percent to settle at $4,613 a metric ton ($2.09 a pound) at 5:54 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange.

In other markets:

  • Lead for delivery in three months slid 3.5 percent to $1,711 a ton on the LME, the biggest decline since March 2012.
  • Aluminum, zinc, nickel and tin also dropped in London.
  • Copper futures for July delivery lost 1.4 percent to $2.0745 a pound on the Comex in New York.
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