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Copper prices fall

Filed under: Business,Latest News |
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Copper prices fell for a seventh session in New York amid concern demand is poised to slow in China, the biggest consumer of the metal, at the same time that mining companies are moving to increase production, reports Zambian Eye Business Correspondent Gabriel Chilufya from London.

Chinese manufacturing slowed this month, economists surveyed by Bloomberg said before an official gauge due March 1. A private measure released last week touched a seven-month low. Copper stockpiles monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange are at a nine-month high. First Quantum Minerals Ltd. said last week its Sentinel copper project in Zambia is 75 per cent complete.

“The copper market has been weak so far this week, with projected Chinese consumption a big question mark, while copper producers announce planned production increases in the face of rising copper surpluses in the Far East,” Mark Lewon, president of Salt Lake City-based Utah Metal Works Inc., said by e-mail. “I am increasingly bearish in the face of all this news.”

Copper for delivery in May slid 0.4 per cent to $3.203 a pound by 07:27 hours on the Comex in New York. Prices are poised for a second monthly gain in three. Copper for delivery in three months was unchanged at $7,026 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange (LME) after touching $6,994, the lowest since December 4.

Stocks of copper tracked by the LME, at a 14-month low, shrank for a 30th session to 274,350 tons, daily data showed. Orders to remove the metal from warehouses declined 4.4 per cent to 149,250 tons, the lowest since April.

The contract for immediate delivery traded at a $74.25 a ton premium to copper for delivery in three months in London after yesterday reaching $75, the widest intra day level since May 2012. Higher prices for earlier shipments, or backwardation, indicate limited supply.

“Copper is drifting, and that is despite falling LME stocks and tighter spreads,” William Adams, an analyst at Fastmarkets.com in London, said in a note.

Zinc for immediate delivery settled yesterday at a $22.50 a ton premium to the three-month contract, the widest backwardation since August 2007.

Aluminum, lead, tin, nickel and zinc fell in London.

Source: Bloomberg Business Week

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