Copper Drops as Lower Chinese Producer Prices Damp Demand

Copper futures fell the most in a week on concern that demand is ebbing in China, the world’s top consumer of industrial metals.

China’s producer-price index in November fell 2.7 percent from a year earlier, government data showed today. The record 33rd straight decline was the biggest since mid-2013. Copper has dropped 15 percent this year, heading for a consecutive annual decline for the first time since 2001.

“Lower producer prices would suggest economic slowing,” Tim Evans, the chief market strategist at Long Leaf Trading Group Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “People look at it as a forward-looking indicator, and that doesn’t suggest a positive outlook for metals.”

Copper futures for March delivery fell 1.2 percent to settle at $2.893 a pound at 1:12 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest drop for a most-active contract since Nov. 28.

Aggregate trading was 43 percent below the 100-day average for this time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Copper for delivery in three months dropped 1 percent to $6,415 a metric ton ($2.91 a pound) on the London Metal Exchange.

A strike at Antamina, Peru’s biggest copper and zinc mine, hasn’t affected production, said Martin Calderon, a company spokesman. BHP Billiton Ltd. and Glencore Plc each own 33.75 percent of Antamina.

On the LME, zinc, aluminum, nickel, lead and tin dropped.

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