Copper Falls to Six-Week Low as Metals Drop on Demand Outlook

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Copper prices slumped to a six-week low and metals from aluminum to zinc dropped on concern that slowing economic growth will curb world demand for raw materials.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development cut its global growth forecast, and BHP Billiton Ltd. said on Wednesday that ample supplies of commodities will persist. A seasonal recovery in Chinese demand for metals hasn’t been strong, according to Bank of China International Ltd.

“Demand for metals was very weak in the first quarter,” Caroline Bain, a commodity economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in London, said in a telephone interview. “It’s not a boom time for demand in China. The euro-zone economy is stronger than it was a few years ago, but we’re not expecting a boost to demand.”

Copper for delivery in three months fell 1.6 percent to settle at $5,915 a metric ton ($2.68 a pound) at 5:51 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange. Earlier, the price touched $5,906, the lowest since April 23.

Nickel, lead and tin also dropped in London. An index of the six main LME metals has declined 7 percent this year.

The International Monetary Fund on Thursday cut its U.S. growth forecast to 2.5 percent this year from a projection of 3.1 percent.

“We are seeing speculative funds continue to remain bearish on commodities,” Bart Melek, the head of commodity strategy at TD Securities in Toronto, said in a telephone interview.

On the Comex in New York, copper futures for July delivery fell 1.4 percent to $2.687 a pound.