Copper fell, approaching a five-year low, as data showed China’s industrial profits grew at the slowest pace on record.
Earnings in 2014 grew at 3.3 percent, the weakest in records going back to 2000, according to the National Bureau of Statistics in Beijing. The figure contracted for a third month in December, falling 8 percent. China accounts for about 40 percent of global copper demand.
“There is absolutely no doubt there has been a demand vacuum in China,” Colin Hamilton, head of commodities research at Macquarie Group Ltd., said at a news briefing in London Tuesday, referring to industrial metals. “Also European demand looks to be extremely weak.”
Copper futures for March delivery on the Comex fell 1.4 percent to $2.508 a pound by 8:04 a.m. in New York. The metal touched $2.419 on Monday, the lowest since 2009. The metal for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange slipped 0.8 percent to $5,534 a metric ton.
Copper is piling up in London Metal Exchange warehouses, highlighting an oversupply that’s deepening an almost two-year bear market. Inventories monitored by the bourse have risen for the past 11 days, reaching 238,225 tons, the highest level since April.
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