Copper Poised for Worst Year Since 2011 as China’s Economy Cools

Copper in London headed for its biggest annual loss in three years amid signs of an economic slowdown this year in China, the world’s largest metals consumer.

The final reading this month for the manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for China from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics came in at 49.6, the lowest in seven months. A figure below 50 signifies contraction. China is on course for the slowest year of economic growth since 1990, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Copper for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.2 percent to $6,334.50 a metric ton by 3:04 p.m. in Hong Kong. The metal is poised to fall for a second month and is headed for a 14 percent decline this year, the second-worst performer among the six main base metals on the LME.

“Copper has had a very tiring, slow grind lower this year,” said Jonathan Barratt, chief investment officer at Ayers Alliance Securities in Sydney. “The numbers today aren’t good but the governments are looking to stimulate. There’s money to be spent, the question is where.”

The global copper market may swing to a surplus of 522,000 tons next year from an estimated 100,000-ton deficit this year as new capacity comes on stream, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. The LMEX index of six metals has fallen 7.4 percent this year.

In New York, copper futures for March rose 0.2 percent to $2.8585 a pound, while in Shanghai, the metal for the same month climbed 1.1 percent to close at 45,800 yuan ($7,389) a ton.

On the LME, lead declined, while aluminum, zinc and nickel advanced and tin was little changed.

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