Copper fell in London after imports into China, the biggest buyer, tumbled to the lowest in 20 months and as stockpiles of the metal expanded.
Chinese shipments of refined metal, alloy and products were 298,102 metric tons last month, the General Administration of Customs said today. Stockpiles in LME-tracked warehouses climbed 5.9 percent to 509,425 tons, the highest level since April 15, 2010. Inventories, up 59 percent this year, grew on deliveries in Singapore, Gwangyang, South Korea, New Orleans and the Belgian city of Antwerp.
“There is a lot of metal in China,” Robin Bhar, an analyst at Societe Generale SA in London, said by phone today. “We should see imports slowing this year.”
Copper for delivery in three months dropped 0.4 percent to $7,731.50 a ton by 11:10 a.m. on the LME, paring its first weekly gain in four. The metal has added 0.4 percent this week. Futures for delivery in May declined 0.4 percent to $3.5065 a pound on the Comex in New York. Futures trading volumes in New York were 23 percent lower than the average in the past 100 days for the time of day, according to figures compiled by Bloomberg.
Refined copper supply will exceed demand by 176,000 tons this year, the most since 2009, according to Credit Suisse Group AG. Imports of refined copper by China will drop 11 percent this year, according to Barclays Plc.
“There is no question we are in a situation where the market is in much more oversupply,” Jim Lennon, an analyst at Macquarie Group Ltd. in London, said by phone today. “Published stocks have gone higher.”
Aluminum, nickel, zinc and lead fell in London. Tin rose.
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