Copper futures fell below $US2 a pound for the first time in more than six years as a slump across industrial metals deepened on concern that China’s economic slowdown is worsening.
The retreat in prices helped send a gauge of world mining companies to the lowest since 2004 on Thursday, led by Freeport- McMoRan and Anglo American. The Bloomberg Industrial Metals Subindex tumbled 27 per cent in 2015, the worst loss since the global recession of 2008.
Weak Chinese economic reports this week triggered turmoil across global markets and billionaire George Soros warned of a crisis.
Copper traders have been plagued with excess supplies as demand cooled in China, the world’s biggest consumer of the metal. While miners including Freeport have trimmed production, the cuts haven’t been deep enough to end the glut. Goldman Sachs Group predicts the metal will remain in surplus through at least 2020.
On the Comex, copper futures for March delivery tumbled as much as 4.7 per cent to $US1.99 a pound in the first drop below $US2 since 2009. Futures settled at $US2.022, down 3.2 per cent at 1.14pm.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 2.9 per cent at $US4487 a tonne. Three-month LME zinc was down 3.5 per cent at $US1491.50 a tonne.
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