Copper Drops Most in a Week as U.S. Manufacturing Stagnates

  • ISM manufacturing data seen as leading indicator for demand
  • Metals rose earlier after China factory gauge topped estimates

Stabilizing Chinese PMI Offers Investors Some Reassurance

Copper futures fell the most in a week after data showed manufacturing is deteriorating in the U.S., the second-biggest consumer of the metal.

U.S. manufacturing stagnated in September amid a strengthening dollar and faltering overseas markets, nearing the dividing line between expansion and contraction. Copper capped its worst quarter since the first three months of last year and is down 18 percent this year as top consumer China heads for its slowest growth since 1990.

“The ISM manufacturing data is key for copper, with the metal being a very strong component of a lot of manufacturing products,” Tim Evans, chief market strategist at Long Leaf Trading Group Inc. in Chicago, said by telephone. “The market looks to a number like that to suggest what the demand for copper will look like in the near to intermediate future and it’s obviously disappointing.”

Copper futures for December delivery dropped 1.6 percent to settle at $2.3045 a pound at 
1:21 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest decline since Sept. 22.

Shares of Glencore Plc, a company that mines and trades copper among other commodities, lost 0.6 percent after three days of record volatility during which investors expressed concern of its debt load and ability to withstand sinking commodity prices.

Copper for delivery in three months fell 1.3 percent to $5,095 a metric ton ($2.31 a pound) in London. Aluminum, zinc, nickel, lead and tin also declined. Industrial metals gained earlier Thursday after China’s official factory gauge topped analyst estimates.

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