Mar 1, (Bloomberg) -- Copper dropped for the first time in four days in London and New York on concern that demand in China, the largest user, may not be as robust as estimated as physical buyers hold off purchases in anticipation of lower prices.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell as much as 0.9 percent to $9,795 a metric ton, and traded at $9,825.25 at 12:07 p.m. in Singapore. Zinc, lead, tin and aluminum also declined.
The discount of spot copper in Changjiang, Shanghai’s biggest cash market, to futures has widened, suggesting that consumers may not be willing to make purchases at higher prices. Changjiang copper was about 1,200 yuan ($183) a ton less than futures yesterday compared with about 565 yuan last week.
"We’re not getting signs from the physical market that demand is picking up, evident from the persistent discount,” Zhuo Guiqiu, an analyst at Minmetals Futures Co., said from Shenzhen. "There’s only just hand-to-mouth buying at present.”
Copper futures in New York dropped as much as 0.8 percent to $4.4595 a pound, before trading at $4.4730. May-delivery metal on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 0.4 percent to 74,020 yuan per ton, after gaining 0.3 percent earlier.
China’s manufacturing grew at the slower pace in six months in February, data showed today, after the government raised borrowing costs and restrained lending to cool inflation and prevent the economy from overheating. Data in the first two months are typically distorted by the timing of the weeklong Lunar New Year holiday, which began on Feb. 2 this year.
Aluminum in London fell 0.6 percent to $2,584 a ton, zinc dropped 0.5 percent to $2,508 a ton, lead shed 0.5 percent to $2,550 a ton and tin declined 0.7 percent to $32,100 a ton. Nickel was little changed at $29,000 a ton.