Copper Declines for Second Day on U.S., China Demand Concerns

Copper dropped for a second straight session amid concern that lower-than-forecast growth in the U.S. and China, the world’s biggest consumers of the metal, will damp demand. Zinc, aluminum and lead retreated.

Copper for delivery in three months lost as much as 0.7 percent to $6,980 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange and was at $7,013 by 2:30 p.m. in Seoul. Prices slumped 2.1 percent on April 26, the most since April 17. Futures for July delivery fell 0.5 percent to $3.1715 a pound on the Comex. Markets in China are closed for a three-day holiday through May 1.

The U.S. economy grew 2.5 percent in the first quarter, lower than forecast in a survey, Commerce Department data showed last week, while manufacturing gauges for China and the euro area were weaker than estimated by analysts. Growth in Chinese industrial companies’ profits slowed in March, adding to evidence the nation’s economic recovery is losing steam. Copper inventories tracked by the LME increased for a 13th week, daily figures showed last week.

“The weaker-than-expected U.S. GDP data is still weighing on the market,” Lelia Kim, a metals trader at Tong Yang Securities Inc., said by phone from Seoul today. “Given the growth picture in China remains weak, we don’t expect much improvement in Chinese buying right after the holidays. Trading will be also thin while China is closed.”

The U.S. economy was expected to grow 3 percent, according to the median estimate of 86 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Data today may show U.S. consumer spending stagnated last month, increasing the likelihood the Federal Reserve will renew its commitment to a bond-buying program at a two-day policy meeting starting tomorrow.

Net income of industrial companies in China increased 5.3 percent from a year earlier, down from a 17.2 percent pace in the first two months, the National Bureau of Statistics said April 27. Top leaders said the country must guard against financial risks and boost consumption, according to a Politburo Central Committee statement released last week through the official Xinhua News Agency.

On the LME, tin and nickel were little changed.

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