Copper Falls Before Signals From Fed on U.S. Monetary Stimulus

Dec 18, 2013 1:31 pm ET

Dec. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Copper futures fell for the second straight day before a statement from Federal Reserve policy makers that may signal tapering of monetary stimulus in the U.S., the world’s second-biggest consumer of the metal.

While 34 percent of economists in a Bloomberg survey expect the Fed to start paring bond purchases this month, Pacific Investment Management Co., the world’s largest manager of bond funds, sees about a 60 percent chance for curbs. Copper jumped 2.1 percent on Sept. 19 after the Fed unexpectedly maintained monthly debt purchases at $85 billion.

“Every asset class is now waiting on the Fed’s key as to what the future policy will hold,” Adam Klopfenstein, a market strategist at Archer Financial Services Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “Those kinds of decisions usually cause people to get to the sidelines. That’s why you’re not seeing a major move in one direction in copper.”

On the Comex in New York, copper futures for March delivery declined 0.1 percent to settle at $3.319 a pound at 1:08 p.m. Yesterday, the price dropped 0.2 percent after seven straight gains, the longest rally in three years. China is the top consumer.

Copper for delivery in three months fell 0.1 percent to $7,270 a metric ton ($3.30 a pound) on the London Metal Exchange. Stockpiles slumped for the 33rd straight session to the lowest since February.

Nickel, lead and tin rose in London, while aluminum was unchanged. Zinc dropped.

--Editors: Millie Munshi, Thomas Galatola