SHANGHAI, Mar 22 -- Copper in Shanghai fell by the most in a week as supplies expanded in the world's largest consumer.
The June contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange slumped as much as 1.4 percent to 59,410 yuan ($8,703) a metric ton, the steepest drop since March 15, and closed at 59,530 yuan a ton. The three-month delivery contract on the London Metal Exchange declined 0.2 percent to $7,423 a ton at 2:56 p.m. in Shanghai.
Refined copper imports by China gained 12 percent to 220,530 tons in February from the previous month, customs data showed today. Inventories of the metal monitored by the Shanghai exchange expanded 8.8 percent to 169,101 tons last week, extending a climb to the highest since at least 2003.
The increase in stockpiles and supplies "may put pressure on Shanghai prices this week," Wu Xiaoqi, an analyst at Minmetals Haiqin Futures Co. said from Beijing.
Aluminum fell as much as 1 percent to 16,680 yuan a ton in Shanghai and zinc tumbled as much as 2.6 percent to 18,480 yuan.
China's imports of aluminum, lead, zinc and nickel all decreased from a month earlier, customs data show. Inbound shipments of primary aluminum and refined zinc plunged 52 percent, lead tumbled 73 percent and nickel dropped 25 percent.
Shanghai metals are also tracking declines on the London Metal Exchange, where copper fell 0.7 percent on March 19 on the dollar's rebound and India's interest rate hike, Chen Jian, another analyst at Minmetals Haiqin, said today.
The Reserve Bank of India unexpectedly increased the benchmark reverse-repurchase rate to 3.5 percent from a record 3.25 percent. It was the first increase since July 2008.
The dollar gained against the euro on speculation that Greece may fail to secure financial assistance from the European Union. The Dollar Index advanced for a third day, rising by 0.2 percent to 80.867 at 2:48 p.m. in Shanghai.
Aluminum was 0.4 percent down at $2,250 a ton in London, zinc fell 0.7 percent to $2,279.75 a ton and lead added 0.2 percent to $2,199.75 a ton. Nickel retreated 0.7 percent to $22,300 a ton and tin hadn't traded as of 2:50 p.m. in Shanghai.