Copper Extends Quarterly Loss as China Data Show Weak Recovery

Apr 01, 2014 3:12 am ET

April 1 (Bloomberg) -- Copper fell for a second day, extending a quarterly decline after gauges for Chinese industrial activity indicated sluggish growth, lowering prospects for demand from the world’s biggest consumer.

The metal for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange dropped 0.1 percent to $6,638.50 a metric ton by 3 p.m. in Hong Kong after rising as much as 0.4 percent and falling as much as 0.3 percent. Copper retreated 9.7 percent during the first three months of the year, the biggest quarterly drop since June.

A Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 48.0 in March, the lowest reading since July, from 48.5 in February, HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics said today. A separate gauge from the Chinese government, was at 50.3 after 50.2 in February. Numbers above 50 signal expansion.

“There’s not much improvement from February,” said Helen Lau, a commodity analyst at UOB Kay Hian Ltd. in Hong Kong. “It is not encouraging. It shows the recovery is still kind of weak.”

In New York, the Comex copper futures contract for May was little changed at $3.0255 a pound, while in Shanghai the metal for delivery in June fell 0.1 percent to close at 46,740 yuan ($7,534) a ton.

On the LME, lead and nickel also retreated, while tin rose. Zinc and aluminum were little changed.