Copper slumped to a seven-week low and nickel tumbled to the lowest level in 12 weeks after China moved to curb property speculation and Federal Reserve minutes showed a debate over the stimulus. Aluminum, lead, zinc, and tin also declined.
Copper for delivery in three months lost as much as 0.8 percent to $7,900 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, the lowest since Dec. 31, before trading at $7,935 at 10:11 a.m. Shanghai time. Nickel dropped as much as 1.9 percent to $16,840 a ton, the lowest since Nov. 28.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao called on local authorities to “decisively” curb real estate speculation and take steps to rein in the property market after data showed prices surged the most in two years last month. Several Federal Reserve policy makers said the U.S. central bank should be ready to vary the pace of bond purchases amid a debate over the risks and benefits of further quantitative easing.
“The Fed minutes and concerns over China’s property sector hurt market sentiment, weighing down China’s stocks market and commodities,” said Peng Guoliang, an analyst at Dadi Futures Co. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP) lost as much as 2 percent to 2,349.518, the lowest since Jan. 30.
Copper for May delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange declined 1.6 percent to 57,700 yuan ($9,239) a ton, while the May contract on the Comex in New York fell 0.4 percent to $3.6105 per pound.
On the LME, aluminum dropped for a fourth day as analysts estimated stockpiles in China may have climbed to a record level. Lead fell to a four-week low, zinc to the lowest level in three weeks and tin was at the lowest level since Jan. 2.
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