Copper Caps Biggest Monthly Drop Since May as Metal Demand Slows

Copper fell in London, capping the biggest monthly drop since May, as signs of slowing industrial growth eroded demand prospects. Metals including tin and zinc also slumped.

Japanese industrial production rose less in March than estimated by economists in a Bloomberg survey, and South Korean output slid the most in a year, reports showed. Business activity in the U.S. unexpectedly shrank in April for the first time in more than three years. Copper stockpiles tracked by the London Metal Exchange climbed for a seventh month in a row.

“The market is still lacking confidence,” Andrew Silver, a broker at Triland Metals Ltd. in London, said by telephone today. “There seems to be good supply around.”

Copper for delivery in three months fell 1.4 percent to settle at $7,055 a metric ton ($3.20 a pound) in London, extending the monthly drop to 6.4 percent, the largest decline since May.

Aluminum, zinc, nickel, lead and tin were also lower. The LME’s index of six main metals -- copper, aluminum, zinc, nickel, lead and tin -- fell 5.7 percent in April, a third straight drop and the most since October. Tin plunged 12 percent, leading the losses.

The MNI Chicago Report’s business barometer dropped to 49 in April, the lowest since September 2009 and below the 52.5 median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. A reading less than 50 signals contraction.

Copper stockpiles monitored by the LME rose 0.2 percent to 618,600 tons, daily exchange figures showed, and expanded 8.6 percent in April.

In New York, copper futures for delivery in July slid 1.2 percent to close at $3.1875 a pound at 1:12 p.m. on the Comex. Prices retreated 6.3 percent this month, the biggest loss since October.

Markets are closed in China, the world’s biggest copper consumer, through tomorrow for a national holiday.

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