Lead Falls to 27-Month Low on China Factory Report

Lead dropped to the lowest in more than two years in London as industrial metals declined after a report showed manufacturing contracted in China, the world’s biggest user.

The preliminary Purchasing Managers’ Index from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics fell to a seven-month low of 49.5 in December from 50 the prior month. A number below 50 signals contraction. Lead, which goes into products ranging from automotive batteries to semiconductors, has lost 13 percent this year amid signs of slowing in China.

“If the market begins to feel as if the industrial growth isn’t going to continue in China, then you look around and wonder where it’s going to come from,” Tim Evans, the chief market strategist at Long Leaf Trading Group Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. China “has been at the center of global industrial growth.”

Lead for delivery in three months fell 2.4 percent to settle at $1,920 a metric ton at 5:52 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange, after touching $1,911.25, the lowest since Aug. 22, 2012.

Copper for delivery in three months dropped 0.5 percent to $6,365 a ton ($2.89 a pound) on the LME, a second straight decline. Zinc, aluminum, nickel and tin also fell in London.

A gauge of the six LME prices fell 1 percent to 2,963, the lowest since March 27.

In New York, copper futures for March delivery slid 0.7 percent to $2.8585 a pound on the Comex.

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