Bloomberg News

Copper Slumps to Two-Week Low as Fed Refrains From New Stimulus

December 14, 2011

Dec. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Copper declined for a third day to a two-week low as the Federal Reserve refrained from taking new measures to spur growth and amid concern that Europe’s debt crisis will erode demand for industrial metals.

The three-month contract on the London Metal Exchange fell as much as 1.4 percent to $7,492.50 a metric ton, the lowest price since Nov. 30, and traded at $7,515 by 4:53 p.m. Tokyo time. The March-delivery contract retreated 0.9 percent to $3.4095 per pound on the Comex in New York.

Asian stocks dropped for a second day after U.S. retail sales rose at the slowest pace in five months. The euro traded near an 11-month low against the dollar. Copper has slumped 22 percent this year as Europe’s debt woes escalated. German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected yesterday increasing the upper limit of funding for Europe’s permanent bailout mechanism.

“Investor focus remains on the European debt crisis and the Fed,” said Hwang Il Doo, a senior trader at Korea Exchange Bank Futures Co. in Seoul.

The Fed said yesterday that the U.S. economy is maintaining its expansion even as the global economy slows, while refraining from taking new actions to lower borrowing costs. The statement repeated a warning at two previous meetings that “strains in global financial markets continue to pose significant downside risks to the economic outlook.”

Grasberg

Workers at Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.’s Grasberg mine in Indonesia expect to sign an agreement today with the company’s management to end a three-month strike, union spokesman Juli Parorrongan said today.

Copper for February delivery on the Shanghai exchange declined 0.7 percent to close at 55,710 yuan ($8,746) a ton.

Copper stockpiles monitored by the LME fell for a fifth day, declining 0.7 percent to 383,025 tons, according to exchange data yesterday. That was the lowest level since Jan. 24.

South Korea purchased 4,000 tons of high-grade aluminum ingots in tenders with shipment for Feb. 29, according to notices on the country’s procurement agency’s website today.

Aluminum rose 0.3 percent to $2,008 a ton in London, while zinc was down 0.2 percent at $1,906.5 a ton. Nickel dropped 1.1 percent to $18,113 a ton and tin fell 0.4 percent to $19,480 a ton, while lead declined 0.7 percent to $2,071.25 a ton.

--With assistance from Eko Listiyorini in Jakarta. Editors: Jarrett Banks, Jake Lloyd-Smith

To contact the reporter on this story: Jae Hur in Tokyo at jhur1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Richard Dobson at rdobson4@bloomberg.net


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