Copper Trades Near One-Week Low on China Holiday, Europe Concern

Copper traded near a one-week low as markets in China, the biggest buyer of the metal, are closed this week for the Lunar New Year holiday and data this week may show a contraction in euro-zone economies.

The metal for delivery in three months traded little changed at $8,190.50 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange at 3:00 p.m. in Seoul. The price yesterday fell 1.2 percent, the biggest drop since Dec. 20, touching $8,171, the lowest intra-day level since Jan. 31. Futures for March delivery were also little changed at $3.7195 a pound on the Comex in New York.

“Lack of interest drift is the best way to describe sentiment,” RBC Capital Markets Ltd. said in a report. “The absence of the Chinese is definitely being felt.”

Euro-area economic data due this week will probably show the damage inflicted by the region’s sovereign debt crisis with the worst quarterly decline in output for almost four years. Gross domestic product shrank 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter, according to the median of 45 estimates gathered by Bloomberg News.

“Aluminum sentiment could turn more positive” after United Co. Rusal, the world’s largest producer, forecast global demand will increase 6 percent this year, Nick Trevethan, a commodities strategist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., said in a report today. “China’s auto sales jumped 18 percent month-on-month to 1.73 million vehicles in January.”

On the LME, lead and zinc fell, while nickel rose and aluminum and was little changed.

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