June 5, 2012 / 2:12 AM / 5 years ago

NY copper slips as euro zone PMIs spur growth fear

<p>An employee welds a copper hose at the Sociedade Paulista de Tubos Flexiveis (SPTF) metallurgical company which manufactures flexible metal hoses, in Sao Paulo April 20, 2012. REUTERS/Nacho Doce</p>

NEW YORK/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Copper prices in New York fell for a fifth straight day on Tuesday after a series of declining business surveys across Europe underscored a bleaker outlook for the global economy and industrial metal demand.

The euro zone’s private-sector economy shrank in May at the fastest pace in nearly three years, purchasing managers indexes (PMIs) showed. The data underlined the urgency behind emergency talks held on Tuesday among finance chiefs from the Group of Seven industrialized powers aimed at stemming the currency bloc’s escalating debt crisis.

Spain said credit markets were closing to the euro zone’s fourth-biggest economy.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty and the uncertainty is engendering a slowdown in business,” said Jason Schenker, president of Prestige Economics, LLC in Austin, Texas.

“The first place you see a slowing in business is in the PMIs ... it’s important to take note, and clearly the copper market is responding.”

COMEX copper for July delivery shed 1.80 cents to settle at $3.2890 per lb, after dealing between $3.2780 and $3.3515.

On Monday, it fell to its lowest since last October at $3.2380.

COMEX copper volumes were light on Tuesday with just over 59,000 lots traded late in New York business, down more than 20 percent from the 30-day average, according to preliminary Thomson Reuters data.

Overseas markets held up better than New York.

The most-active September copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed 1.4 percent higher at 53,490 yuan ($8,400) a tonne, after hitting a 2012 low of 52,330 yuan on Monday.

London copper was not traded as the London Metal Exchange is closed for a public holiday on Tuesday. Markets will reopen on Wednesday.

“Unless more bad news comes out of the meetings on the euro zone, we should see support for Shanghai copper at 52,000 yuan for a while, with the upside capped by strong resistance at 55,000-56,000 yuan,” Orient Futures derivatives director Andy Du said.

Europe’s ailing finances have triggered a broad selloff in riskier assets, with copper also hit by a decline in economic growth in top copper consumer China and a faltering U.S. economic recovery.

But the vast U.S. services sector grew at a slightly faster pace last month as a gauge of new orders improved, and China’s fledgling services sector expanded at the fastest pace in 19 months.

Some traders, however, said the disappointing data may nudge politicians to embark on measures to stimulate their economies, which should boost demand for raw materials such as copper.

China had announced a slew of measures to boost economic growth, including fast-tracking infrastructure projects and subsidizing purchases of vehicles and household appliances in some regions.

Traders said they expect the measures to revive copper demand, which remains sluggish in the second quarter, the traditional peak demand season for the metal.

“The order books of copper’s downstream industries will stay weak until at least two months later when the effects of Beijing’s spending programs start to trickle in,” said Yang Changhua, an analyst with state-backed research firm Antaike.

In other news, Rio Tinto Alcan has not scheduled any new talks to end a six-month lockout of unionized workers at its Alma aluminum smelter in northern Quebec -- a work stoppage that has cut output at the plant by two-thirds, a spokesman told Reuters in an email on Tuesday.

Editing by Miral Fahmy and Dale Hudson

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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