Copper Declines for Fifth Session on China, U.S. Growth Concerns

Copper fell for a fifth day in New York on concern that the credit crunch in China and freezing weather conditions in the U.S. may slow global economic growth, hurting demand for the metal.

China’s Industrial Bank Co. suspended some financing for real-estate developers as it seeks to pare risky loans. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 U.S. cities climbed 13.4 percent in the year through December, slower than the 13.7 percent increase in the 12 months ended November. U.S. consumer confidence fell to 78.1 in February from 79.4 a month earlier. China and the U.S. are the world’s top copper users.

“The U.S. economy remains held back by the adverse impact of the cold weather, as another blast hits the Northeast and much of the Midwest this week,” Edward Meir, an analyst at INTL FCStone Inc. in New York, wrote in a report today. “Out of China, weather is not an issue, but rather whether the tightening credit environment will finally arrest the property spiral and cause a deceleration in the economy.”

Copper futures for delivery in May dropped 0.4 percent to settle at $3.227 a pound at 1:14 p.m. on the Comex in New York.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months fell 0.2 percent to $7,064.50 a metric ton ($3.20 a pound).

Stockpiles of the metal monitored by the LME fell for a 28th straight session, to 279,150 tons, the lowest in 14 months. Orders to remove the metal from warehouses dropped 2.1 percent to 158,800 tons, the lowest since May 9.

Zinc, aluminum and tin rose in London, while lead and nickel fell.

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