Copper Drops From 11-Week High AMid Demand Concerns

Copper fell from an 11-week high in London on signs of slowing economic growth in China and the U.S., the biggest users of the metal.

U.S. gross domestic product fell at a 1 percent annualized rate in the first quarter, a bigger drop than economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected, government figures showed today. A purchasing managers index due later this week may show little acceleration this month in Chinese manufacturing after the gauge grew less than estimated in April. Copper has lost 6.5 percent this year amid signs of slowing economies.

“People are waiting for key economic numbers out of China, and while the U.S. has shown signs of growth, it’s not booming,” Edward Meir, an analyst at INTL FCStone in New York, said in a telephone interview. “Global growth concerns remain.”

Copper for delivery in three months fell 0.9 percent to $6,884 a metric ton ($3.12 a pound) at 8:11 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange, the first drop in five sessions. Yesterday, the price touched $6,970, the highest since March 7.

The number of futures contracts outstanding fell to a four-week low on May 27, LME data showed. Copper for immediate delivery traded at a $99-a-ton premium to the three-month contract today, signaling limited supply.

“Sentiment is still underpinned by a strong cash copper price, but after recent run-ups, open interest appears to have been reduced,” Mark Newson-Smith, head of metal sales at Xconnect Trading Ltd. in London, said by e-mail.

Nickel for delivery in three months slid 2.2 percent to $18,900 a ton. This year, the metal has gained 36 percent on concern that demand will exceed supply after leading miner Indonesia barred exports.

Prices are set to retreat further as Chinese stockpiles of refined metal are “ample” and “likely to be dislodged” at current prices, JPMorgan Chase & Co. said in a report May 27.

Aluminum and tin rose in London, while zinc and lead declined.

In New York, copper futures for delivery in July fell 0.9 percent to close at $3.1445 a pound on the Comex.

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