Industrial Metals Decline to Six-Year Low on China Growth Woes

  • BCOM metals subindex drops to lowest since February 2009
  • Lead falls in longest slump since 2011 in London trading

A measure of industrial metals fell to the lowest in more than six years amid concern that demand is sputtering in China, the world’s biggest consumer of everything from aluminum to zinc.

The Bloomberg Industrial Metals Subindex, down 29 percent this year, traded little changed on Thursday after falling as much as 1 percent to the lowest since February 2009. Economic growth is forecast at the slowest in 25 years in China, undermining demand and exacerbating gluts.

“With respect to China, it’s a growth story and will remain one,” Tim Evans, the chief market strategist at Long Leaf Trading Group Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “We’re looking at Chinese numbers for a sign that we’ll see sustained growth moving forward.”

Aluminum fell to a six-year low on the London Metal Exchange, while lead posted a ninth straight decline, the longest slump since 2011. Nickel for delivery in three months slid 0.3 percent to settle at $8,950 a metric ton at 5:50 p.m. on the LME, the lowest closing price since 2003.

Supply cutbacks have been insufficient and demand has either been too weak to offset the adjustment or seen outright declines, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in a report e-mailed Thursday.

Copper, tin and zinc advanced in London.

In New York, copper futures for March delivery closed unchanged at $2.083 a pound on the Comex.

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