Aug. 16 (Bloomberg) –Copper declined on speculation that a moderating Chinese economy and sluggish U.S. recovery may damp demand for the metal in the world's two largest users.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell as much as 0.7 percent to $8,850.25 per metric ton, and was at $8,852 at 2:36 p.m. in Shanghai. The metal for December delivery on the Comex lost 0.9 percent to $4.0185 per pound.
China is "significantly moderating," Bart van Ark, The Conference Board's chief economist, told Bloomberg Television from New York today. The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for China has slowed "quite significantly" over the past few months, van Ark said. The gauge rose 1 percent to 158.9 in June, according to data from the New York-based research organization.
"Copper's fundamentals are not bad, but uncertainties over the U.S. economy and European debt problems are curbing a further rally," Xiao Wei, an analyst at Industrial Futures Co., said by phone from Shanghai.
Copper for October delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 1.2 percent to 66,500 yuan ($10,413) a ton.
Reports later today may show U.S. builders broke ground on 600,000 homes at an annual rate in July, a 4.6 percent drop from June, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 77 economists. Building permits, a sign of future construction, probably fell 1.9 percent. Euro-zone economic growth dropped to 1.8 percent in the second quarter from a year ago, the slowest expansion in more than a year, another survey showed.
Lead in London fell 0.8 percent to $2,378.25 a ton, while zinc retreated 0.6 percent to $2,170 per ton. Aluminum was little changed at $2,376 per ton, nickel climbed 0.2 percent to $21,350 per ton, and tin advanced 0.2 percent to $24,500 per ton.