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Copper Drops on Concern China, European Demand Growth Will Slow
May 12,2010 09:09CST
industry news

May 11 (Bloomberg) -- Copper prices dropped for the first time in three sessions on concern that growth will slow in Europe and China, curbing demand for raw materials.

Global equity markets fell on speculation that an emergency loan package of almost $1 trillion won't be enough to halt Europe's debt crisis. Chinese stocks fell into a bear market on concern that accelerating inflation will spur the government to cool growth. Copper has dropped 4.2 percent this year on signs the global recovery is slowing.

"With all that's happening in Europe, if there's any hint of slowing in China as well, it's going to have a real impact on prices," said Frank McGhee, the head metals dealer at Integrated Brokerage Services LLC in Chicago.

Copper futures for July delivery fell 2.15 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $3.2065 a pound on the Comex in New York.

Prices jumped 2.7 percent yesterday after European policy makers and the International Monetary Fund unveiled a 750 billion-euro ($955 billion) loan package to stem budget gaps in Greece, Portugal and Spain. Nobel laureate Robert Aumann criticized the plan, saying it will lead to overspending.

"Yesterday, people were saying ‘Oh my God,' when they saw the size of the package," McGhee said. "Today, the question is 'Where's the beef?' It's not clear where the money is going to come from."

China Outlook

Consumer prices in China, the world's largest copper user, rose 2.8 percent in April from a year earlier, the fastest pace in 18 months. Copper prices tumbled 5.6 percent in April as China enacted measures to cool its property market.

"Chinese inflation figures are through the roof," said Steve Hardcastle, an analyst at Sucden Financial Ltd. in London. "The markets over there are running very concerned about further tightening of the economy."

Copper for delivery in three months lost $70, or 1 percent, to $7,050 a ton ($3.20 a pound) on the London Metal Exchange. Nickel, aluminum, lead, tin and zinc prices also fell.

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