NEW YORK--Copper futures fell Wednesday, yielding to pressure from a stronger U.S. dollar and as some investors remained reluctant to hold the industrial metal amid worries about slowing global growth. The most actively traded contract, for December delivery, was recently down 1.05 cents, or 0.4%, at $3.0175 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Copper prices pulled lower as the dollar advanced against other currencies. The ICE Dollar Index was recently up 0.4% at 85.66. Copper is traded in dollars and becomes more expensive for buyers in other countries as the dollar strengthens against their home currencies. Roughly 40% of global copper demand comes from China, while Europe, as a region, is second in line.
Worries about global growth also weighed on copper prices. Recent economic data from China and Europe has shown that economic activity in both hubs is slowing. Copper is widely used in construction and manufacturing, and prices are sensitive to shifts in the economic outlook. Tuesday’s copper rally was a brief respite from those worries, as reports that the European Central Bank may purchase commercial bonds to stimulate the region’s growth raised hopes for copper demand. Still, traders are “anxious” and want to see “whether the eurozone is going to recover before they return to this market,” said George Gero, a senior vice president with RBC Capital Markets Global Futures in New York. Adding to the concern was data pointing to another month of weaker copper imports by China. September imports of refined copper fell 15% in September from a year earlier, to 288,661 tons, though the January-September total is up 18% versus the same period last year.
By Tatyana Shumsky