Copper Heads for Longest Slump in Five Months on China

Copper prices fell in London, capping the longest slump in almost five months, on concern that demand will ebb in China, the world’s biggest consumer of industrial metals.

China’s factory output may shrink this month, a gauge from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics indicated last week, and an equity index of mainland companies trading in Hong Kong fell today to a five-month low. Credit Suisse Group AG said in a report that it’s “time to sell” copper, citing ample supplies and economic slowdown in China and emerging markets.

“With growth prospects in China still a concern, the metals complex is not faring well,” RBC Capital Markets LLC said in a report.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months declined 0.4 percent to settle at $7,150 a metric ton ($3.24) at 5:50 p.m. The price fell for the fourth straight session, the longest slump since Aug. 30. Earlier, the metal touched $7,148.50, the lowest since Dec. 11.

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

Purchases of new homes in the U.S. fell more than forecast in December, ending the industry’s best year since 2008 on a sour note. Builders are the biggest users of copper and use about 400 pounds in the average home.

Copper futures for March delivery fell 0.4 percent to $3.259 a pound on the Comex in New York.

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