Copper Futures Fall Most in Two Weeks on China Demand Concerns

Copper fell the most in almost two weeks amid signs that economic growth is slowing in China, the world’s biggest consumer of the metal, as inventories swell.

China’s economy will expand 7.6 percent this year, JPMorgan Chase & Co. said today, cutting its estimate from 7.8 percent after a report yesterday showed industrial production in the nation expanded less than economists predicted. Investor confidence in Germany, the third-biggest copper user, rose less than forecast this month. Stockpiles monitored by the London Metal Exchange increased the most in four weeks.

“We saw a big increase in copper inventories, and data out of China and Europe has been lagging,” Harry Denny, a broker at Hoboken, New Jersey-based PVM Futures Inc., said in a telephone interview. “All of this has hit copper pretty hard today, and the market will need to see signs of greater consumption to turn the corner.”

Copper futures for delivery in July slid 2.1 percent to settle at $3.288 a pound at 1:09 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest drop since May 1. The metal is down 10 percent this year.

“In light of the economic conditions in Europe, we do not expect a strong general upturn of copper-product demand in the next few months,” Hamburg-based recycler Aurubis AG said today.

LME copper stockpiles climbed 2 percent, the most since April 15, to 618,700 metric tons. Inventories in Malaysia’s Johor gained 2.8 percent, exceeding 200,000 tons for the first time.

On the LME, copper for delivery in three months declined 2.3 percent to $7,245 a ton ($3.29 a pound).

Zinc, nickel, aluminum and lead also dropped in London. Tin advanced.