Copper Drops to 2-Week Low on China Producer Prices, Fed Minutes

Jan 09, 2014 3:37 am ET

Jan. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Copper fell along with industrial metals as China’s producer prices extended the longest streak of decline since the 1990s and on speculation the Federal Reserve will further cut stimulus.

The contract for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange retreated as much as 1.2 percent to $7,259 a metric ton, the lowest level since Dec. 24, and traded at $7,270.25 a ton at 5:09 p.m. in Tokyo. The metal has lost 1.2 percent this year after slumping 7.2 percent last year.

China’s producer-price index fell 1.4 percent last month, the 22nd straight drop, a report showed, adding to evidence that the second-biggest economy weakened. The dollar remained higher versus most of its major peers as signs of improvement in the labor market supported bets the U.S. economy would be strong enough for the Fed to end bond purchases this year.

“Recent economic data out of China were not positive,” said Tetsu Emori, a senior fund manager at Astmax Asset Management Inc. in Tokyo. “Concern that U.S. policy makers will cut stimulus further this year added downward pressure.”

Policy makers saw diminishing economic benefits from the central bank’s asset purchases and expressed concern about future risks to financial stability, according to minutes of the Dec. 17-18 meeting. The Fed last month reduced monthly purchases to $75 billion from $85 billion.

Metal for delivery in March lost 1.6 percent to close at 51,220 yuan ($8,461) a ton in Shanghai. Copper for delivery in March dropped 0.7 percent to $3.318 a pound in New York.

On the LME, lead touched $2,114 a ton, the lowest level since Dec. 10 and nickel fell to $13,415 a ton, the cheapest since Dec. 3. Aluminum, zinc and tin also slumped.

--With assistance from Heesu Lee in Seoul. Editors: Sungwoo Park, Jarrett Banks