Copper Futures Fall on ‘Disappointing’ Drop in U.S. Home Sales

Copper prices declined for the second time in three sessions after purchases of previously owned U.S. homes dropped more than forecast in November.

Sales fell 6.1 percent to a 4.93 million annual rate last month, the weakest since May, National Association of Realtors data showed today. Economists expected a 5.2 million rate, according to a Bloomberg survey. Builders are the top copper users in the U.S., the world’s second-biggest consumer.

The housing report “is very disappointing for copper and other base metals,” Bart Melek, the head of commodity strategy at TD Securities in Toronto, said in a telephone interview.

Copper futures for March delivery fell 0.4 percent to settle at $2.8725 a pound at 1:10 p.m. on the Comex in New York. This year, the price has declined 15 percent amid concern that global mined supplies will top demand as the economy cools in China, the largest user.

Money managers have held a net-short position, or bets on price declines, for 13 straight weeks, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission show. That’s the longest stretch since August 2013.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months fell 0.7 percent to $6,355 a metric ton ($2.88 a pound). Aluminum, lead, zinc and tin declined.

Nickel rose 0.3 percent to $15,650 a ton. The metal has advanced 13 percent this year following a ban on ore exports from Indonesia, the biggest producer of supplies from mines.

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