Oct 12, 2012 (Dow Jones) NEW YORK--Copper settled at the lowest price in one month on Friday, as worries about demand growth in the top consumer of the industrial metal send traders to the sidelines ahead of next week's set of industry events in London.
The most actively traded copper contract, for December delivery, fell 4.85 cents, or 1.3%, to settle at $3.703 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest since Sept. 12.
"The Chinese growth outlook remains a concern," VTB Capital analyst Andrey Kryuchenkov said in a note. "Recent public spending and infrastructure investments...will take time to filter through to the real economy."
Beijing has taken steps this year to prop up economic activity, such as easing lending curbs and approving infrastructure spending, but the pace of metal consumption growth has still slowed, analysts say.
The International Monetary Fund on Friday lowered its expectations for growth in Asia, but said China was likely to avoid a hard landing. The IMF now forecasts Asian economic growth of 5.4% this year, down from the 6% seen in its April forecast. Growth is seen accelerating to 5.9% in 2013, down from 6.6% previously.
The World Bank this week also cut its forecasts for growth in Asia.
Chinese trade data are set for release on Saturday, followed Monday by readings on inflation. The country accounts for about 40% of world copper consumption, and slowing growth there this year has kept pressure on metals prices.
"Base metals took a good pasting [Friday] as concerns over slowing growth in China and have crept back into the market," RBC Capital Markets said in a note.
Next week also brings the London Metal Exchange's annual industry week there, where traders, producers and consumers traditionally seal long-term supply contracts for the following year. The week can also bring more muted trading activity, with market participants attending industry events and meeting with clients and counterparts.
Copper settlements (ranges include electronic and pit trading):
Oct $3.7145; down 4.45 cents; Range $3.7125-$3.7500
Dec $3.7030; down 4.85 cents; Range $3.6990-$3.7565