Copper fell to a two-month low and aluminum slid to lowest level since November as China’s manufacturing data trailed economists’ forecasts, a signal that recovery in the largest user of metals may be losing steam.
Copper for three-month delivery dropped as much as 0.7 percent to $7,760 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, the lowest since Dec. 20, and was at $7,780 at 3:17 p.m. Shanghai time. Aluminum lost as much as 0.6 percent to $1,993.25 a ton, the lowest since Nov. 28.
China’s manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index was 50.1 in February, the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said today. The reading compares with the 50.5 median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 31 economists and 50.4 in January. A number above 50 indicates expansion. A separate manufacturing PMI from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics stood at 50.4, compared with a forecast of 50.6.
“There are still lots of doubts regarding how strong the economy will be this year,” Peng Guoliang, an analyst at Dadi Futures Co., said by phone from Hangzhou. “Copper supply and demand in China is little changed compared with last year.”
Copper for May delivery on the Comex in New York dropped 0.4 percent to $3.5320 a pound, while the June contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed 1.7 percent lower at 56,730 yuan ($9,116) a ton.
On the LME, lead and nickel also declined, while zinc and tin were little changed.
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