Copper Futures Fall Most in Week on Signs Demand Growth Slowing

Copper futures dropped the most in more than a week in New York as U.S. factory orders rose less than forecast in September, adding to concern that demand for the metal may slow.

The 1.7 percent gain in bookings trailed the 1.8 percent median increase in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, a measure of future business investment, fell 1.3 percent. Concern about China’s housing market also weighed on prices. An editorial published by China Securities Journal said the Asian nation’s real-estate bubble poses a “danger” to the economy and called for property controls and reform of land and tax policies.

“Continued economic worries are keeping the bulls at bay in copper, and we’re seeing some fund liquidation,” Sterling Smith, a futures specialist at Citigroup Inc., said in a telephone interview. “The factory report goes along with the general sense that growth is going to be tepid.”

Copper futures for delivery in December lost 1.4 percent to settle at $3.253 a pound at 1:13 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest decline for a most-active contract since Oct. 23. The metal slid 0.7 percent last month.

Communist Party leaders in China, entering a summit this week, will weigh signs of an economy on an upswing against concern that excessive credit growth, rising local-government debt and weaker export momentum may cap the recovery. China is the world’s biggest copper user.

The Copper Development Association says construction generates about 40 percent of demand for the metal, used in pipes and wiring.

Dallas Federal Reserve Bank president Richard Fisher said today he wouldn’t rule out backing a reduction by March of the central bank’s $85 billion-a-month debt-buying, depending on economic conditions.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months fell 1.3 percent to $7,149 a metric ton ($3.24 a pound).

Aluminum, lead, nickel, tin and zinc also declined in London.

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