Copper Declines as Inventory Gains to Highest Since 2003

Copper futures fell for the fourth time in five sessions on signs of ample global supplies as a measure of inventory climbed to the highest in nine years.

Stockpiles monitored by exchanges in the U.S., London and Shanghai have surged 45 percent this year to the highest since November 2003. Production of the refined metal exceeded demand by 168,600 metric tons in December, the biggest surplus in six years, the International Copper Study Group said today.

“The supply story continues to weigh on the market,” Tim Evans, the chief market strategist at Long Leaf Trading Group in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “There have been some solid economic numbers, but not enough to change the sentiment around supply, and that will continue to dominate.”

Copper futures for May delivery fell 0.3 percent to settle $3.435 a pound at 1:08 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The metal has dropped about 6 percent this year.

Refined copper supply will exceed demand this year by 92,000 tons, or 0.4 percent of global consumption, as mine production increases, Barclays Plc has forecast

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months fell 0.5 percent to $7,582.50 a ton ($3.44 a pound). Aluminum, tin and lead dropped, while nickel and zinc gained.

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