Sep 10 (Bloomberg)--
Copper extended yesterday’s slump, heading for the first weekly drop in four, as China brought forward the release of August economic data to Saturday, prompting speculation the results may disappoint investors.
The metal for three-month delivery dropped as much as 1 percent to $7,480 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, and traded at $7,484.50 at 11:11 a.m. in Shanghai. Copper for December delivery on Shanghai Futures Exchange lost 0.4 percent to 58,370 yuan ($8,616) a ton.
"There’s lots of talk, ranging from the government probing inappropriate trading to possible rate hikes,” said Ren Gang, an analyst at Maike Futures Co., by phone from Shanghai. "It’s made people very cautious in wake of yesterday’s tumble.”
China’s National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday it will release August economic indicators, including consumer prices and industrial output, on Saturday, instead of the initial scheduled Monday.
"The statistics bureau has almost never reported data on weekends before,” said Chen Jianbo, a fixed-income analyst at BOC International (China) Ltd., adding that the change prompted speculation that the central bank may raise the deposit rate to combat inflation before the markets open on Monday.
Commodity futures in China tumbled yesterday after a report said regulators may be investigating large positions in Shanghai rubber futures. "There is no official comment from the regulator, so people kept on guessing what happened,” Ren said.
Aluminum in London advanced 0.4 percent to $2,113 a ton, the only one of the six industrial metals on the exchange to gain today.
Aluminum for December delivery in Shanghai was little changed at 15,585 yuan.
"News that some smelters have been ordered to cut production to meet the country’s energy-saving targets is offering some psychological support to aluminum,” Liang Lijuan, an analyst at Cofco Futures Co., said by phone from Beijing. "But I don’t think it will lead to a big drop of output.”
To meet its energy efficiency targets, China has asked steel, cement and aluminum producers to reduce output. Data provider Shanghai Metals Market said in a report Sept. 3 that no smelter had started to cut production and said the worst case scenario would be a slight monthly output decline toward the end of this year.
Zinc declined 1 percent to $2,132.25 a ton, and lead dropped 1.6 percent to $2,166 a ton. Nickel lost 1.3 percent to $22,450 a ton and tin fell 2.1 percent to $21,250 a ton at 11:20 a.m. in Shanghai.