Copper Swings Between Gains, Losses on Fed’s Stimulus Outlook

Copper swung between gains and losses as investors weighed declining stockpiles against speculation the Federal Reserve will soon be able to taper stimulus. Zinc, lead and tin fell for the first time in five days.

Copper for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange was little changed at $6,969 a metric ton at 3:49 p.m. in Tokyo after trading between a 0.2 percent advance and a 0.4 percent drop. Futures for delivery in September on the Comex lost 0.3 percent to $3.1575 a pound.

The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index for the U.S. rose to 56 in July, above the median estimate of 53.1 and June’s 52.2 reading. Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher said the central bank is closer to slowing bond purchases that have stoked global equity gains. Copper stockpiles monitored by the LME fell for a 14th session.

“Everyone is speculating when Fed may reduce stimulus and that’s the key driver for all markets,” said Hwang Il Doo, a senior trader at Korea Exchange Bank Futures Co. in Seoul. A decline in stockpiles on the LME and China’s bonded warehouses would limit a further decline in prices, he said.

LME copper inventories fell 0.3 percent to 606,900 tons, data from the bourse showed yesterday. Orders to remove the metal from warehouses rose 2.3 percent, the most since June 27, to 324,300 tons.

Stockpiles in China’s bonded warehouses fell 63 percent to 300,000 tons in the four months through July, reducing total stockpiles in the world’s biggest user to three weeks of consumption, Judy Zhu, an analyst at Standard Chartered Plc, said in a report on Aug. 2. The bank estimated total copper inventories in China at about 500,000 tons, compared with a peak of more than 1 million tons in March, she said.

Copper for delivery in November on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was unchanged at 50,180 yuan ($8,196) a ton.

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