Copper Drops for First Day in Four Before U.S. Economic Data

Copper fell for the first time in four days before U.S. data forecast to show consumer confidence fell to a five-month low and retail sales stalled as the Federal Reserve starts a two-day meeting today.

The metal for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange declined as much as 0.8 percent to $7,135.25 a metric ton and traded at $7,181 at 4:07 p.m. in Tokyo. The metal is down 1.6 percent in October, the first monthly drop in four months.

The Conference Board’s index of U.S. consumer confidence probably declined to 75 this month, the weakest since May, from 79.7 a month earlier, according to a survey. Economists in a separate poll predict the Commerce Department to report today no change in retail sales in September, the worst reading in six months. The U.S. is the top user of copper after China.

“The market was focusing on U.S. economic data due later today, and closely watching the Fed’s policy meeting today and tomorrow,” said Hiroyuki Kikukawa, the general manager of research at Nihon Unicom Inc. in Tokyo. “The downside is limited because of declining LME stockpiles and expectations that the Fed will keep stimulus.”

The Fed will delay slowing its $85 billion of monthly bond buying under the quantitative-easing stimulus strategy until March, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The Open Market Committee meeting comes after U.S payrolls rose less than projected last month and a government shutdown took at least $24 billion out of the economy.

China’s money-market rates climbed to the highest levels since July and stocks declined as the central bank’s first injection of funds in two weeks failed to alleviate a cash squeeze. The People’s Bank of China conducted 13 billion yuan ($2.13 billion) of seven-day reverse-repurchase agreements today, according to a statement on its website.

Metal for delivery in January on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was unchanged at 51,510 yuan ($8,462) a ton. Futures for delivery in December slid 0.1 percent at $3.2665 a pound on the Comex in New York.

LME copper stockpiles declined 0.6 percent to 478,200 tons, the lowest since March.

Zinc and lead also fell on the LME, while aluminum, nickel and tin were little changed.

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