Jul 23, 2012 (Dow Jones) NEW YORK--Copper prices fell Monday but finished off their intraday lows, after the International Monetary Fund dismissed reports it wouldn't support further aid for Greece.
The most actively traded contract, for September delivery, fell 6.80 cents, or 2%, to $3.3800 pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The International Monetary Fund said Monday it would go ahead with a planned visit to Athens as part of the troika of inspectors checking on Greece's progress with implementing austerity measures previously agreed upon.
"The IMF is supporting Greece in overcoming its economic difficulties," an IMF official said in response to queries about newspaper reports that the agency would no longer partake in financial aid for the debt-laden Mediterranean country.
The news helped lifted euro off fresh two-year lows of $1.2067, to $1.2119 in recent trade.
Dollar-denominated copper appears less expensive to investors who use other currencies as they strengthen against the dollar.
Greece has teetered on the edge of sovereign-debt default for nearly two years, as two rounds of rescue aid from European partners helped stave off a messy default. However, investors remain concerned that Athens won't be able to enact unpopular budget cuts and political reforms required by the rescue deals and that Greece will plunge the entire euro zone into fiscal upheaval.
Copper prices had touched an intraday low of $3.3420 shortly after New York trading opened as concerns about Greece ran high.
"It was like rats fleeing a sinking ship first thing today as worries re-emerged about euro-zone stability," traders at Sucden Financial said in a note to clients.
Europe as a region is second, behind top copper consumer China, in global demand for the industrial metal. Copper is mostly used in electrical wiring and pipes.
Investors are also closely following developments in Spain, where an increasing number of regional governments is set to request rescue aid from Madrid. Investors worry that Spain, the fourth-largest economy in the euro zone, will require more financial help despite recently securing a bailout for its bank sector.
Copper traders now turn their sights to Chinese manufacturing data, due out overnight, for clues about copper demand from the world's largest consumer of the industrial metal.
Copper settlements (ranges include electronic and pit trading):
Jul $3.3815; down 6.70 cents; Range $3.3475-$3.3945
Sep $3.3800; down 6.80 cents; Range $3.3420-$3.4445