Copper for December delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 1.80 cents or 0.6% to $2.9630 per lb.
Prices came under pressure from the release of disappointing Chinese economic data on Thursday, which showed that the world’s second-largest economy continued to cool last month, stoking fears that momentum in economic growth could be starting to decelerate.
Specifically, industrial production for August rose 6.0% rise from a year earlier, below the expected 6.6% and July’s reading of 6.4%. As well, retail sales grew 10.1% year on year last month, falling short of the projected 10.5% and the previous reading of 10.4% in July.
Additionally, China’s fixed asset investment for the year to August also surprised, rising just 7.8% rise. This was below the previous increase of 8.2% and the forecast 8.3%.
"Disappointing signals from China, together with the recent stock landings continue to drive copper prices lower," Metal Bulletin analyst James Moore said. "Prices may have room to extend lower in the short term, but given the overall improvement in global macroeconomic activity, together with the broadly supportive fundamental backdrop, suggests these will prove attractive to longer-term investors."
In the precious metals, Comex gold for December settlement inched up 10 cents or 0.1% to $1,328.10 per oz.
Currency moves and data releases
- The dollar index dipped by 0.2% to 92.34.
- In commodities, the Texas light sweet crude oil spot price was up 1.50% at $50.04 per barrel.
- In other Chinese data, growth of private investment similarly slowed to 6.4% for the January-August period from 6.9% in the first seven months of the year, suggesting small- and medium-sized private firms still face difficulties in accessing financing.
- In the US, the CPI and the core CPI in August both beat expectations at 0.4% and 0.2% respectively. Weekly unemployment claims in September came in at 248,000, an improvement over the forecast of 300,000.