Copper Posts Longest Slump in 15 Weeks on Stimulus Bets

Copper swung between gains and losses as investors weighed mine-supply disruptions against speculation central banks from Tokyo to Washington will refrain from adding more stimulus to boost global growth.

Metal for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange traded between as high as $7,087 a metric ton and as low as $7,020, and was little changed at $7,056.75 at 2:03 p.m. in Tokyo. Futures for delivery in July on the Comex fell 0.3 percent to $3.1865 a pound.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. rescheduled concentrate shipments to its customers, President Director Rozik B. Soetjipto said today. The Bank of Japan yesterday refrained from expanding its tools to rekindle inflation and stoke growth. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said last month that the central bank could curtail its monthly bond purchases if the U.S. employment outlook shows a sustainable improvement.

“In the short term, sentiment remains subdued as central banks are increasingly reluctant to add additional stimulus,” said Tetsu Emori, the chief fund manager at Astmax Asset Management Inc. in Tokyo. Still, a shutdown at Freeport’s mine in Indonesia was lending support, he said.

Operations at Grasberg are shut, except for maintenance, until the government gets the results of an independent probe of an accident at a tunnel that killed 28 people on May 14, the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry said June 5. Another worker died on June 1 after a separate incident. The halt may cut output by about 680 tons a day, Bloomberg calculations show.

On the LME, nickel sank to the lowest since July 2009, retreating for a sixth day to $14,450 a ton after data from the bourse showed yesterday stockpiles monitored by LME rose to a record. Lead and tin also fell, while aluminum climbed.

The Shanghai Futures Exchange is closed today for the Dragon Boat Festival holiday.

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