Copper Prices Slump Over Chinese Economy Concerns

   By Jasmine Horsey 
 Stock Market Quotes, Business News, Financial News from

Copper prices slumped to their lowest level in four weeks Tuesday amid concerns about the Chinese economy.

Copper for September delivery, the most actively traded contract, closed down 0.7% at $2.1500 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since July 11.

Chinese government statistics released Tuesday showed that producer price deflation eased in July. The producer price index was down 1.7% on the year in July, showing improvement from June’s 2.6% decline.

Though the data implies the government is beginning to get its overcapacity problem under control, it still marks an overall economic slowdown in the world’s largest consumer of copper.

Robin Bhar, head of metals research at Societe Generale SA, said the Chinese data released this week, including import and export figures, have weighed on copper.

“Though the economy is stabilizing, it’s still fairly weak compared to where it was twelve months ago,” he said.

The slightly improved PPI figures also suggest the central bank may postpone loosening monetary policy, which would act as a further check on copper prices.

More macro data is due to come from China this week, including retail sales and industrial production figures. Mr. Bhar said those reports will prompt further speculation on when the central bank might slash interest rates and also shed greater light on the industrial parts of the economy.

“Those could potentially be market movers,” confirmed Dee Perera, an analyst at Marex Spectron.

–Ira Iosebashvili contributed to this article.

Write to Jasmine Horsey at Jasmine.Horsey[a]

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