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Copper Falls Most in Two Weeks Following China’s Rate Increase
Feb 10,2011 10:58CST
industry news

Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) --Copper fell the most in two weeks on concern that higher interest rates will crimp growth and slow commodity demand in China, the world’s biggest metals consumer.

Yesterday, China increased borrowing costs for the third time in four months, before a report next week that economists say may show inflation accelerated to the fastest in 30 months. Prices also dropped as copper stockpiles tracked by the London Metal Exchange swelled the most in two weeks.

"A faster and sharper increase of interest rates than previously assumed could ultimately have an adverse effect on commodities and metals demand,” Commerzbank AG said in a report today.

Copper futures for March delivery dropped 5 cents, or 1.1 percent, to close at $4.524 a pound at 1:33 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the biggest decline since Jan. 25. On Feb. 7, the price reached an all-time high of $4.6375.

China joined India, Indonesia, Thailand and South Korea in boosting rates this year as Asian policy makers seek to avert economic overheating in the region leading the global rebound. Copper prices have more than tripled since the end of 2008 as miners struggled to keep up with rising demand, especially from emerging economies.

"Market sentiment will be impacted by the rate hike, and until we get clearer signs of physical activity picking up in China, copper may be a bit subdued,” Zhu Haitao, an analyst at Zhongcai Futures Co., said from Beijing.

On the LME, copper for three-month delivery fell $135, or 1.3 percent, to $9,925 a metric ton ($4.50 a pound). The metal climbed to a record $10,160 on Feb. 7.

Stockpiles monitored by the LME rose 1.1 percent to 396,400 tons, the biggest gain since Jan 26. Inventories are up 5 percent this year.

Lead, zinc, nickel, tin and aluminum also declined in London.

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