Copper fell for the third time in four sessions after imports into China slumped to the lowest since August, adding to concern that demand is slowing.
Shipments slid 18 percent in June, the third drop in four months, according to customs figures from China, the world’s largest metals consumer. Total imports of all goods trailed the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of analysts. Copper also declined as the dollar rose against a basket of six currencies, reducing the appeal of commodities as alternative investments.
“We keep seeing more and more evidence that China really is slowing down,” Frank Cholly, a senior commodity broker at RJO Futures in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “They’re the largest consumer of these goods, so people get scared. The market needs China to come back.”
Copper futures for September delivery slid 1 percent to settle at $3.398 a pound at 1:18 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The metal fell 8.6 percent last quarter on mounting concern that slowing global growth will erode demand.
Arrivals of refined copper, alloy and products into China were 346,223 metric tons, the General Administration of Customs said on its website. That compares with 419,741 tons in May. Total imports increased 6.3 percent from a year earlier, below the survey’s 11 percent median estimate.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months fell 0.9 percent to $7,490 a metric ton ($3.40 a pound)
Nickel, tin, lead, zinc and aluminum also dropped in London.
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