Aluminum Falls to Three-Week Low as China Churns Out More Metal

  • Tin climbs after LME stockpiles drop to lowest since 2004
  • Metals fall as China’s industrial-output data disappoints

Aluminum slid to a three-week low as suppliers in China increased output and industrial production in the Asian nation fell short of estimates.

China’s aluminum smelters churned out 2.75 million metric tons in September, the highest in 15 months, government data showed on Wednesday. Industrial output rose 6.1 percent last month from a year earlier, trailing the median forecast for 6.4 percent growth.

“Metal prices are actually more likely to come under pressure because China produced significantly more metals and steel in September, which makes more supply available to the market,” Daniel Briesemann, an analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, said in an e-mailed note. Industrial production was “disappointing,” he said.

Aluminum fell as much as 1.3 percent to $1,620 a ton on the London Metal Exchange, the lowest since Sept. 26. Prices settled at at $1,631.50 at 5:51 p.m. local time.

China’s consumption of non-ferrous metals will expand through 2020 at less than half the pace seen in the prior five years as the nation shifts away from a commodities-intensive economy, according to a report from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on Wednesday. The growth in aluminum demand will slow to 5.2 percent a year through 2020, from about 14 percent in the five years to 2015, it said.

China’s economic growth was stable, rising 6.7 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier and matching the median projection by economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

In the U.S., the largest industrial-metals user behind China, government data Wednesday showed signs of fitful progress in residential real estate. New-home construction unexpectedly fell in September on a plunge in multifamily building, while permits rose more than forecast.

In other metals:

  • Tin rose as much as 2 percent. Inventories tracked by the LME sank 2.5 percent to the lowest since 2004.  
  • Copper and nickel dropped on the LME, while lead and zinc gained.
  • On the Comex in New York, copper futures for December delivery slipped.
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