Copper futures fell on Wednesday amid a flurry of downbeat economic reports from Europe and lingering worries about demand from China.
The most actively traded contract, for December delivery, was recently down 1.65 cents, or 0.5 per cent, at $3.1385 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Data firm Markit’s monthly composite purchasing managers index – a measure of activity in the eurozone’s manufacturing and services sectors – fell to 52.5 in August from 53.8 in July, the lowest level in 2014 to date, and lower than the preliminary estimate of 52.8.
Meanwhile, the European Union’s statistics agency said retail sales fell 0.4 per cent in July from June, a sign that consumer spending contracted.
“Copper is lower today because everyone is worried about the eurozone recovery,” said George Gero, a senior vice president with RBC Capital Markets Global Futures.
Europe as a region is second behind top copper consumer China in the ranks of global demand for the metal.
Copper is widely used in everyday goods like phones, microwaves, cars and factory equipment, making prices of the metal sensitive to shifts in economic outlook.
Copper prices also remain under pressure from continued worries about weaker-than-expected manufacturing sector reports from China.
The world’s top copper user said its factory activity expansion slowed in August, reanimating investor concerns about future copper demand.