Copper retreated after the biggest monthly loss since May last year as China’s manufacturing expanded at a weaker pace in April, increasing concern that slowing growth will curb demand from the biggest consumer.
Copper for delivery in three months declined as much as 0.5 percent to $7,021 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange and was at $7,023.50 at 9:39 a.m. in Singapore. Nickel and zinc also fell. Markets from China to India are closed today for a holiday.
The Purchasing Managers’ Index was at 50.6, the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said today. That compared with the 50.7 median forecast of 31 analysts in a Bloomberg News survey and a March reading of 50.9. Copper slumped 6.4 percent in April on concern slowing economies from the U.S. to China will reduce demand as supplies expand.
“China slowing is going to be bad because the rest of the world is already bad,” said David Lennox, an analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney. “The price is reacting accordingly.”
China’s economic growth unexpectedly cooled in the first quarter to 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent in the final three months of 2012. Aluminum and tin declined 0.1 percent.