Copper Falls Most in Three Weeks on China Inflation Data

Copper fell the most in three weeks as China’s inflation accelerated more than forecast, fueling speculation that the government will curb economic stimulus.

China, the world’s biggest user of industrial metals, said today that consumer prices gained 2.5 percent last month from a year earlier. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of analysts was 2.3 percent. Copper also slid as stockpiles monitored by exchanges in London and Shanghai reached the highest since at least April.

“The thinking is that with China’s inflation numbers up like this, they’re not going to need more stimulus,” Frank Cholly, a senior commodity broker at RJO Futures in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “That’s taking copper down.”

Copper futures for March delivery fell 1.5 percent to settle at $3.654 a pound at 1:17 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest decline for a most-active contract since Dec. 20. The metal dropped for the sixth time in seven sessions.

Inventory tracked by the London Metal Exchange advanced 1.2 percent to 330,450 metric tons, the highest since Jan. 31. That capped a 3.2 percent weekly increase, the sixth in a row. Stockpiles monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange climbed to 209,096 tons, the highest since April.

On the LME, copper for delivery in three months slid 0.9 percent to $8,045 a ton ($3.65 a pound). Aluminum, lead and zinc also fell, while tin and nickel rose.

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