March 4 (Bloomberg) -- Lead and zinc fell in London as China’s efforts to cool property prices fueled concerns that growth may slow in the world’s biggest metals consumer.
European and Chinese stocks declined as China’s government called for higher down payments and interest rates for second- home mortgages in some cities, as well as stricter enforcement of taxes on sales. A purchasing managers’ index released yesterday showed the nation’s services industries expanded at the slowest pace in five months.
“The Chinese government is keen to put the brakes on soaring property prices,” Commerzbank AG analysts, including Frankfurt-based Daniel Briesemann, said in a report today. “Investors believe that demand for metals could decline as a result.”
Lead for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange dropped 1.2 percent to settle at $2,216 a metric ton at 5:52 p.m. local time. Earlier, the metal touched $2,212.85, the lowest since Dec. 7. Zinc declined 0.9 percent to $2,002 a ton after falling to $1,995, the lowest since Jan. 17.
Chinese legislators begin an annual conference tomorrow, during which the government usually sets economic targets.
Aluminum and nickel were also lower in London. Copper gained 0.3 percent to $7,725 a ton ($3.50 a pound). Tin rose.
Copper stockpiles monitored by the LME increased 0.8 percent to 462,400 tons, the highest since Oct. 10, 2011.
In New York, copper futures for May delivery added less than 0.1 percent to close at $3.5015 a pound on the Comex.
Money managers are holding a copper net-short position, or bets on a decline, of 7,172 contracts, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. That compares with a net-long holding of 11,413 contracts a week earlier and is the most- bearish outlook since August.
--With assistance from Jae Hur in Tokyo. Editors: Thomas Galatola, Patrick McKiernan