Tags: China | Worries | Copper | Lowest

China Worries Drive Copper to Lowest Since Mid-2010

Tuesday, 11 March 2014 05:46 PM

Copper futures tumbled to a 43-month low Tuesday as signs of slowing economic growth sparked concern that demand will slump in China, the world’s biggest consumer of industrial metal.

Aggregate financing in China reached 938.7 billion yuan ($153 billion) in February, trailing estimates by analysts, government data showed. Tighter credit may mean that demand for metal in financing transactions will shrink. There’s concern that more copper is used for the deals than in industrial consumption, Morgan Stanley said today in a report.

This year, copper has dropped 13 percent, the most among 34 commodities tracked by Bloomberg. Global demand will trail production by 81,000 metric tons in 2014, Barclays Plc estimates. China had its first onshore bond default after Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science & Technology Co., a solar- panel maker, last week failed to make an interest payment.

“People are starting to reevaluate the China demand scenario, not only from economic data, but also from this first ever corporate-debt default inside the country,” Mike Dragosits, a senior commodity strategist at TD Securities in Toronto, said in a telephone interview. “How many more companies out there are going to default?”

Copper futures for May delivery dropped 2.6 percent to settle at $2.952 a pound at 1:27 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Earlier, the price touched $2.942, the lowest for a most-active contract since July 20, 2010. Trading was 70 percent higher than the 100-day average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Chinese Economy

The Chinese economy will probably expand 7.5 percent this year, the slowest since 1990, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. Money managers switched from a net-long position in copper to a net-short holding of 2,567 contracts in the week ended March 4, government data show.

China’s imports of unwrought copper and copper products fell to 380,000 metric tons in February from a record 536,483 tons a month earlier, customs data show. Net imports will come “under considerable pressure” this year, as domestic output gains, James Luke, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co., said Tuesday at a conference in Milan.

Stockpiles tracked by the Shanghai Futures Exchange have climbed for eight straight weeks, the longest advance since February 2012. Combined inventories tracked by the exchange and in bonded warehouses are up 42 percent since the start of the year, Morgan Stanley said Tuesday.

Credit Tightens

Importing copper into China has become uneconomical, and Chinese banks have slowed the issuance of letters of credit, said Andreas Hommert, the head of research at Citrine Capital Management, a New York-based metals hedge fund. He visited China this month.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months fell 2.6 percent to $6,475 a ton ($2.94 a pound). The price touched $6,469.75, the lowest since July 2010.

Nickel gained as much as 2 percent to $15,762, the highest since April 17, on concern that the European Union may impose more sanctions against Russia, disrupting supplies that have been curbed by an ore-export ban in Indonesia.

Zinc, tin, lead and aluminum declined.

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Copper futures tumbled to a 43-month low Tuesday as signs of slowing economic growth sparked concern that demand will slump in China, the world's biggest consumer of industrial metal.
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 05:46 PM
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