Copper Posts Worst Run Since January After China Rating Cut

  • Bloomberg World Mining Index has best quarter since 2010
  • Investors seen cashing in on copper's gains, RBC'S Gero says

Copper dropped for a fifth day, the longest slump since January, as a cut to the outlook for China’s credit rating added to concerns on global demand.

Standard & Poor’s said increasing economic and financial risks prompted it to reduce the outlook for China’s credit rating to negative from stable. Earlier in March, Moody’s Investors Service made a similar revision. In the U.S., the largest user of the metal after China, consumer comfort declined to a three-month low, as Americans’ attitudes about the economy and their financial prospects deteriorated.

“Some of the figures that we’re seeing today were not as bullish as expected,” George Gero, a managing director at RBC Wealth Management in New York, said in a telephone interview. “Disappointment leads to some profit-taking.”

Copper for delivery in three months fell as much as 1.2 percent to $4,816 a metric ton ($2.18 a pound), the lowest in almost a month, and settled at $4,847 at 5:50 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange. On the Comex in New York, copper futures for May delivery slipped 0.3 percent to $2.183 a pound.

The recent decline has pared copper’s first quarterly gain in almost two years amid production cutbacks by miners. The Bloomberg World Mining Index, which tracks leading mining stocks, has advanced 14 percent in the first three months of the year, set for the best quarter since 2010.

  • Lead and tin also declined on the LME, while aluminum, zinc and nickel rose.
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