Mar.15 (Bloomberg) --Copper declined as equities slumped after the Japanese prime minister warned the risk of further radiation leaks from a nuclear power plant at Fukushima is increasing. Zinc and lead also fell.
The metal for three-month delivery dropped as much as 1.3 percent to $9,071.50 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange and traded at $9,080 at 1:08 p.m. Shanghai time. Copper for June delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell as much as 1 percent to 68,700 yuan ($10,456) a ton.
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said today in a nationally televised press conference that the risks of further radiation leaks are increasing after an explosion at the plant in northern Japan. Emergency cooling systems failed following last week’s massive earthquake and tsunami, resulting in the explosions.
"The Japan earthquake is the theme,” Wang Ning, an analyst at Xiangyu Futures Co., said by phone from Shanghai. "It has a broader impact on financial markets and copper won’t be immune to it.”
Kan said his government was doing its utmost to contain the radioactive leakage from the plant. Blasts have occurred at three of the station’s six reactors since March 12 and a fire was discovered a fourth unit’s building today. The level of radiation at the plant climbed above the legal limit after the latest explosion, Kyodo News reported.
Shares Plummet Japan’s shares tumbled, with the Topix index suffering its worst two day decline since records began in 1949, as concern grew about the safety of nuclear plants damaged by the country’s worst earthquake on record. The index dropped as much as 14 percent to 725.90. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell as much as 7.5 percent to 121.69.
The U.S. Geological Survey today increased the magnitude of the March 11 earthquake that hit Japan to 9 from 8.9, according to a statement on its website. Manufacturers including Sony Corp. to Toyota Motor Corp. closed plants yesterday.
Aluminum in London fell 0.9 percent to $2,534.75 a ton, zinc dropped 1.2 percent to $2,301 a ton, and lead lost 1.2 percent to $2,488.75 a ton. Nickel declined 1.3 percent to $25,486 a ton, and tin gave up 2 percent to $29,300 a ton.