Copper Futures Decline Most in a Week on Chinese Housing Data

Copper futures fell the most in a week after a report showed declining property prices in China, the world’s largest metal user.

New-home prices fell in 64 out of 70 cities in January, Chinese government data showed on Tuesday. That signaled an interest-rate cut in November, the first since 2012, hasn’t revived construction yet. Property accounts for about half of China’s copper demand, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

“More and more reports are indicating that the slowdown is not getting any better,” Mike Dragosits, a senior commodity strategist at TD Securities in Toronto, said in a telephone interview. “Prices will probably remain under pressure until we see China taking some aggressive steps to boost growth.”

Copper futures for May delivery declined 1 percent to settle at $2.5805 a pound at 1:17 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest drop for a most-active contract Feb. 10.

This year, the metal has declined 8.7 percent on concerns that demand is ebbing China and Europe amid forecasts for a global surplus. Copper stockpiles monitored by the London Metal Exchange have climbed to the highest in a year.

On the LME, copper for delivery in three months fell 1.7 percent to $5,649.50 a metric ton ($2.56 a pound), the biggest drop since Jan. 27.

Nickel dropped for the seventh straight session,the longest slump since Nov. 12, 2013. Lead, aluminum, zinc and tin fell.

Markets in China will be shut from Wednesday to Feb. 24 for the Lunar New Year holiday.

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