Oct 10, 2012 (Dow Jones) NEW YORK--Copper futures settled unchanged Wednesday for a second consecutive day as concern about Europe's financial system and global economic growth offset hopes that economic stimulus would prop up demand for the industrial metal.
The most-actively traded copper contract, for December delivery, again settled at $3.718 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Trading volume on Wednesday was lower than normal, according to preliminary exchange data.
"There's indecision in the market," said Dave Meger, director of metals trading at Vision Financial Markets. "We continue to get concerning news out of Europe. It's a back-and-forth trading environment."
Europe's banking crisis was on some investors' minds Wednesday, underlining the lingering concern that a worsening of conditions there would limit industrial activity worldwide. Fitch Ratings cautioned that euro-zone members could face more credit downgrades. The International Monetary Fund said that, if euro-zone governments fail to resolve the crisis, banks there could be forced to unload more assets than previously thought.
Despite the rise in copper prices since this summer, physical demand hasn't caught up with investor enthusiasm, analysts said.
"The actual physical demand side is still slack," said Andrey Kryuchenkov, an analyst with VTB Capital, in a note.
On Tuesday, copper rose early on news that China continued to pump money into its financial system in an effort to stoke growth. The country accounts for about 40% of world copper consumption, making global copper prices sensitive to such news. Similar monetary easing by central banks in Japan, Europe, and the U.S. has kept a floor under copper prices, as investors bet the economic boosts would filter down to the industrial economy.
Copper settlements (ranges include electronic and pit trading):
Oct $3.7290; unch; Range $3.7090-$3.7370
Dec $3.7180; unch; Range $3.7015-$3.7280