Copper Falls to Seven-Month Low as Stockpiles Surge; Lead Slumps

Copper in London fell for a fourth day, slipping to the lowest price since August, as inventories expand. Lead slumped to a five-month low.

The three-month copper contract fell as much as 0.8 percent to $7,404.50 a ton, the lowest since Aug. 20, on the London Metal Exchange and traded at $7,425 a ton at 4:38 p.m. in Seoul. Copper for May delivery fell 0.8 percent to $3.3510 a pound on the Comex in New York, while the July-delivery contract lost 0.8 percent to close at 54,060 yuan ($8,716) a ton in Shanghai.

Copper inventories tracked by the LME yesterday climbed for a 32nd session to 571,125 tons, the highest level since 2003. The euro-area jobless rate rose to 12 percent in early 2013, a report yesterday showed, a day after an official gauge of Chinese manufacturing came in lower than analysts forecast.

“Inventories remain pretty high,” Lelia Kim, a metals trader at Seoul-based Tong Yang Securities Inc., said today by phone. “Unless real demand picks up, we can hardly expect prices to take off.”

A stronger dollar is also weighing on metals prices, Lee said. The Dollar Index, a gauge to measure the greenback’s value against six major currencies, rose as much as 0.2 percent today, gaining for a second straight session. A stronger dollar reduces the appeal of commodities as alternative investments.

On the LME, lead fell as much as 0.8 percent to $2,034 a ton, the lowest level since Oct. 30. Tin and nickel lost 1 percent, while zinc was little changed. Markets in China will be closed April 4-5 for a holiday.