Copper Nears Four-Month Low as Stockpiles Jump Most in 11 Years

  • Other industrial metals are mixed in London trading on Friday
  • Mining companies’ shares decline globally on Chinese concerns

Base Metals Outlook: Is the Worst Behind Us?

Copper held near its lowest since February and was on course for its worst week in more than a month as stockpiles jumped the most since 2005. Mining shares including BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group declined.

The commodity used in cables and wiring sank 0.4 percent to $4,496.50 a metric ton, near a four-month low reached yesterday, as of 10:36 a.m. on the London Metal Exchange. Copper is down 4.1 percent this week as stockpiles rose 37 percent, the most in 11 years.

"The jump in copper stockpiles encouraged investors to fix profits and sell the metal this week," Kirill Chuyko, an analyst at BCS Global Markets in Moscow, said by phone. "The price may decline to $4,000 per ton or below this year as the cost of production remains low globally, which does not correspond to the current price."

While the economy in China, the largest consumer of raw materials, shows signs of stabilizing, most industrial metals are burdened by oversupply.

Chinese demand for copper is "fragile," Chuyko said.

In other metals and shares:

  • Aluminum rose 0.7 percent and lead 0.4 percent. Nickel fell 0.1 percent.
  • BHP sank 2.8 percent and Rio Tinto declined 1.6 percent.
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