Copper prices have ended lower as lacklustre US economic data and a stronger US dollar weighs on investor interest in the metal.
The most actively traded contract, copper for December delivery, fell 1.05 cents, or 0.4 per cent, to settle at $US3.0175 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The US consumer-price index, which tracks how much Americans pay for everything from cars to doctor’s visits, advanced 0.1 per cent in September from a month earlier, in line with expectations. The modest increase in inflation is a point of concern for some investors, as it suggests continued slackness in the economy.
“The CPI depressed things a little bit to the extent that it indicates economic weakness and a lack of growth,” said Bill O’Neill, a principal with Logic Advisors.
Copper is widely used in construction and manufacturing, making the price of the industrial metal highly sensitive to shifts in the economic outlook.
The US inflation report came after recent data from China and Europe showing economic activity in both is slowing. China is the world’s top copper consumer, followed by the US.
China on Wednesday reported another month of weaker copper imports. September imports of refined copper fell 15 per cent in September from a year earlier, to 288,661 tons, though the January-September total is up 18 per cent versus the same period last year.
A stronger US dollar also weighed on copper prices. The ICE Dollar Index was recently up 0.5 per cent at 85.73. Copper is traded in US dollars and becomes more expensive for buyers in other countries as the greenback strengthens against their home currencies.