Bloomberg News

Copper Seen Falling as Japanese Exports Add to World Slump Signs

August 22, 2012

Copper was seen falling in New York as slumping Japanese exports added to evidence of a global economic slowdown, undermining prospects for demand.

Shipments dropped 8.1 percent from a year earlier, the Finance Ministry said today. Exports to the European Union, embroiled in the euro debt crisis, plunged the most since October 2009. Growth has weakened for six quarters in China, the world’s biggest copper consumer, while euro-area services and manufacturing output shrank for a sixth month in July.

“The lower exports are a worrying sign about the strength of the global economy,” William Adams, an analyst at Basemetals.com in London, said in a report.

Copper for December delivery declined 0.3 percent to $3.449 a pound by 7:58 a.m. on the Comex in New York. Prices yesterday reached $3.474, the highest level since July 20. The London Metal Exchange’s three-month contract fell 0.4 percent to $7,580 a metric ton.

Declines may be limited by figures predicted to show a stronger housing market in the U.S., the second-biggest copper user. The Copper Development Association says construction generates about 40 percent of demand for the metal.

A report due at 10 a.m. New York time may show sales of existing U.S. houses climbed in July from an eight-month low, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Figures tomorrow may show improved sales of new dwellings.

BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company, put on hold a planned expansion of the Olympic Dam mine in Australia that would have increased copper output almost fourfold to 750,000 tons a year. That was among about $68 billion of projects delayed after second-half profit plunged 58 percent.

Copper stockpiles monitored by the LME fell 0.1 percent to 234,175 tons, daily exchange figures showed. Orders to withdraw the metal from warehouses jumped 21 percent to 45,275 tons.

Nickel, lead and zinc rose in London as tin and aluminum fell.

To contact the reporter on this story: Agnieszka Troszkiewicz in London at atroszkiewic@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net


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