Lead, Tin Fall to Lowest in a Year on Economic Outlook

Lead and tin prices fell to the lowest in more than a year as mounting signs of a global economic slowdown fueled concern that industrial-metal demand will ebb.

European equities posted the longest slump in 11 years amid indications that the region’s recovery is faltering. China’s foreign-exchange reserves unexpectedly fell by the most on record last quarter, data today showed, while confidence among U.S. homebuilders dropped in October to a three-month low.

An index of the six main metals traded on the London Metal Exchange has sagged 6.1 percent since June 30. The Federal Reserve has said that weaker foreign expansion poses a risk to the U.S., the world’s biggest metal user after China. This week, orders to remove tin from warehouses tracked by the LME fell to a three-year low, while those for lead dropped 76 percent in 2014.

“There’s a worry the U.S. will be impacted by a slowdown in Europe and China, and that it will weaken demand,” Mike Dragosits, a senior commodity strategist at TD Securities in Toronto, said in a telephone interview. “Lead and tin are certainly following the entire metals complex.”

Lead for delivery in three months dropped 1.6 percent to settle at $1,976.50 a metric ton at 5:50 p.m. on the LME. Earlier, the price touched $1,961.50, the lowest since May 2013.

Tin fell 1.8 percent to $19,250 a ton. The price touched $19,000, the lowest since July 2013.

Growth in Chinese production of electric bicycles may slow to 2 percent this year from 4.7 percent in 2013, London-based researcher CRU Group said. E-bikes account for 36 percent of Chinese lead usage, according to Deutsche Bank.

Copper slid 1.3 percent to $6,552 a ton ($2.97 a pound). Aluminum, zinc and nickel also fell in London.

Copper futures for December delivery fell 0.9 percent to $2.9815 a pound on the Comex in New York after touching $2.9525, the lowest for a most-active contract since March 25.

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