Bloomberg News

Copper Falls for Third Session on Signs U.S. Economy May Falter

January 31, 2012

Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Copper fell for the third straight session after U.S. reports showed unexpected declines in consumer confidence and business this month, damping the outlook for metal demand.

The Conference Board’s confidence index decreased to 61.1, lower than the most pessimistic projection of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. The Institute for Supply Management- Chicago Inc. said that its business barometer dropped as orders slowed. Analysts projected an increase. Earlier, copper rose as much as 1.3 percent on signs of progress on the Greek debt crisis.

“Signs that the U.S. may be starting to slow are taking some of the silver lining out of the news coming from Europe,” Dennis Cajigas, a senior market strategist at Zaner Group in Chicago, said in a telephone interview.

Copper futures for March delivery fell 1 percent to settle at $3.79 a pound at 1:26 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The metal dropped 1.9 percent in the previous two sessions.

This month, the price jumped 10 percent, the biggest January gain since 2003. Inventories monitored by the London Metal Exchange have dropped to the lowest since September 2009, while the Federal Reserve’s pledge to keep its benchmark U.S. interest rate close to zero percent until at least late 2014 bolstered commodities.

On the LME today, copper for delivery in three months fell 1.3 percent to $8,320 a metric ton ($3.77 a pound).

Nickel, aluminum, zinc and lead fell in London. Tin gained.

This month, an index of the six industrial metals jumped 11 percent, the biggest January gain since 2006.

Tin surged 27 percent in January, a record monthly increase.

--With assistance from Agnieszka Troszkiewicz in London. Editors: Patrick McKiernan, Steve Stroth

To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Richter in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at

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