Copper Slumps to 44-Month Low on Concern China Demand Is Slowing

Copper reached a 44-month low in London amid concern demand is weakening in China, the biggest consumer of the metal. Futures traded in Shanghai touched the lowest price since 2009.

The metal slumped this week after figures showed exports from China unexpectedly fell the most since 2009 last month. The nation’s central bank will cut reserve ratios for lenders next quarter amid increased downside risks to the economy, Nomura said in a report. China’s industrial output slowed in February as retail sales sped up, economists said before data tomorrow.

“The markets were spooked by the export data, and if retail sales and industrial production come in iffy, it won’t look good,” said Rob Montefusco, a trader at Sucden Financial Ltd. in London.

Copper for delivery in three months lost 0.7 percent to $6,429 a metric ton by 10:16 a.m. on the London Metal Exchange after reaching $6,376.25, the lowest since July 1, 2010. Prices are set for the biggest four-session drop since 2011. Copper for delivery in May on the Comex in New York fell 0.6 percent to $2.9335 a pound.

Futures-trading volume on Comex was almost triple the average for the past 100 days for this time of the day, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Copper’s 30-day historical volatility, a measure of how much it swings, is 17 today, the highest since October. That compares with this year’s low of 8.7 on March 3, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Copper for delivery in June touched the lowest price since July 30, 2009, in Shanghai. Aggregate futures trading volume was the highest for data on Bloomberg starting in May 2012. There will be an “extra focus on China tomorrow,” Vicky Sanders, head of analytics sales at Marex Spectron Group in London, said in a note today.

Copper stockpiles monitored by the LME, down 30 percent this year to a 15-month low, slid for a sixth session to 255,500 tons, daily data showed. Orders to remove the metal from warehouses declined for a 15th session to 121,475 tons.

Lead retreated to the lowest price since July in London as tin and zinc fell. Nickel and aluminum rose.

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