Copper fell for a fifth day in New York, capping the longest slump since early June, as Japan struggled to contain the worst nuclear disaster in 25 years, fanning concern that global growth will slow.
European confidence in the economic outlook worsened in March as surging energy costs and Japan’s crisis clouded world growth prospects, the European Commission said today. Sentiment among U.S. consumers dropped to a three-month low, a report showed yesterday. Copper is heading its first quarterly decline since June 30.
“The Japanese situation is weighing on market sentiment,” said Lannie Cohen, the president of Capitol Commodity Services Inc. in Indianapolis. “People are really nervous.”
Copper futures for May delivery dropped 7.25 cents, or 1.7 percent, to close at $4.274 a pound at 1:21 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest loss since March 9. The price has slumped 3.9 percent this quarter.
A report scheduled for tomorrow may show weaker growth in factory orders in the U.S., the world’s second-biggest consumer of the metal. A potential economic slowdown in China, the largest user, and “uncertainties in the Middle East” will also pressure prices, Cohen said. Futures may fall to as low as $4.08 in a few weeks, he said.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for three-month delivery fell $204, or 2.1 percent, to $9,381 a metric ton ($4.26 a pound).
Lead, aluminum, tin, zinc and nickel also declined in London.
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