Copper reached an eight-month low in London as worse-than-estimated European economic figures and slumping car sales fueled concern about demand prospects when stockpiles of the metal are the highest since 2003.
Euro-area services output contracted more than initially estimated in March, Markit Economics said today. Auto sales or registrations of new vehicles dropped last month in Germany, Poland and Argentina, reports showed yesterday. Markets in China, the world’s biggest copper consumer, are shut today and tomorrow for national holidays.
“The metals market is quiet and weak so far this morning as China enters the first day of the long weekend,” Pengjiang “Richard” Fu, director for Asian commodities trading at Newedge Group SA in London, said by e-mail.
Copper for three-month delivery lost 0.3 percent to $7,366 a metric ton by 10:23 a.m. on the London Metal Exchange. Prices touched $7,331.25, the lowest since Aug. 3. May-delivery futures fell 0.3 percent to $3.3245 a pound on the Comex in New York.
Prices also slid after the Institute for Supply Management’s index of U.S. service businesses, released yesterday and covering almost 90 percent of the economy, fell more last month than estimated by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. The International Copper Study Group says an average midsize car contains about 50 pounds of the metal.
A report tomorrow may show employers in the U.S., the second-largest copper user, added fewer jobs for a third month in four in March. An ISM measure of U.S. manufacturing for last month released this week declined the most since July 2011.
Copper inventories tracked by the LME rose for a 34th session to 579,175 tons, daily exchange figures showed. That’s the most metal since October 2003.
“Stocks are fairly elevated, so matters will improve into the second quarter, but not just yet,” analyst Andrey Kryuchenkov at VTB Capital in London said by e-mail.
Orders to remove copper from warehouses jumped 19 percent to 143,975 tons on gains in Singapore and South Korea. They more than doubled since March 27 to the highest since February 2004.
Aluminum, lead and tin declined in London as zinc and nickel rose.
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