Copper prices fell the most in three weeks after a gauge of U.S. business dropped to the lowest level since November.
The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago Inc. said today its barometer dropped to 56.7 this month from 62.3 in July. Figures greater than 50 signal expansion. The U.S. is the world’s second-biggest copper consumer. The metal has dropped 6 percent since April 1 on concern that slowing economic growth would slash demand.
Economic uncertainty is creeping back in on expectation of bearish U.S. data this week,” said Andrey Kryuchenkov, an analyst at VTB Capital in London.
Copper futures for December delivery fell 5.95 cents, or 1.7 percent, to close at $3.37 a pound at 1:23 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest drop for the contract since Aug. 11.
Yesterday, copper reached $3.46, the highest level for a most-active contract since April 27. The metal gained 1.8 percent in August and is up 19 percent in the past 12 months.
Lingering concern about the sub-par pace of U.S. growth is capping any prolonged advance,” Edward Meir, an analyst at MF Global Holdings Ltd. in Darien, Connecticut, said in a report. “However, we’re seeing somewhat of a floor,” partly because of steady demand from China, the biggest buyer, Meir said.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months dropped $19, or 0.3 percent, to $7,440 a metric ton ($3.37 a pound). Tin, lead, nickel and zinc also fell. Aluminum was unchanged.
The LME was closed yesterday for a holiday.