Aluminum Heads for Longest Slump in Four Months on China

Aluminum prices capped the longest slump in four months, leading base metals lower, after industrial output in August expanded at the weakest pace since 2008 in China, the world’s top consumer.

Government data showed on Sept. 13 that China’s factory output rose 6.9 percent from a year earlier. In the U.S., the second-biggest user of base metals, industrial production fell unexpectedly in August for the first time in seven months, government figures showed today. Last week, a gauge of aluminum, copper, zinc, lead, nickel and tin posted the biggest drop since mid-March.

The data from China “definitely gives concern as long as the economy does not get back on its feet,” Daniel Briesemann, an analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, said in a telephone interview. “We should be very worried.”

Aluminum for delivery in three months dropped 1.9 percent to $1,991 a metric ton at 5:50 p.m on the London Metal Exchange, the biggest drop since May 15. The price declined for the fifth straight session, the longest slump since May 1.

China’s factory data combined with figures on Sept. 13 showing moderating investment and retail sales to indicate that the national may miss the government’s 2014 target for economic growth.

Nickel in London fell 1.9 percent to $18,050, the lowest since June 13. Copper, lead, zinc and tin also dropped today. The LME index of the six metals declined 0.9 percent after slumping 2.8 percent last week.

On the Comex in New York, copper futures for December delivery declined 0.7 percent to $3.0855 a pound. On Sept. 11, the price touched $3.0625, the lowest since June 19.

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