Copper has closed lower on the London Metal Exchange (LME), weighed by renewed concerns over the metal's demand prospects from top metals consumer China.
At the PM kerb close on Thursday, LME three-month copper was down 0.7 per cent at $US7,354 a metric ton.
Investor sentiment on Thursday was rattled by news that China's producer price index, a measure of the prices charged by factories for their goods, fell 2.6 per cent in April from a year earlier, its sharpest decline since October. The drop exceeded forecasts of a 2.3 per cent decline.
Meanwhile, higher-than-expected Chinese inflation data also stoked fears the Chinese government will withhold more growth-boosting easing measures.
China accounts for about 40 per cent of global demand for copper, which has a broad range of application in manufacturing and construction.
An expectedly sharp drop in weekly US jobless claims saw base metal prices lift from intraday lows on Thursday, but had little lasting impact on the market, overshadowed by concerns over Chinese demand.
Investors will pay close attention to Chinese industrial production data, due for release on Monday, for further clues as to the health of China's raw material appetite, said a London-based broker.
"A strong reading could tip copper back above $7,400/ton," the broker said.
Prices in dollar a metric ton.
3 Months Metal Bid-Ask Change from
Wednesday PM kerb
Copper 7354.0-7355.0 Dn 54
Lead 2015.0-2015.5 Dn 49
Zinc 1872.0-1873.0 Dn 22
Aluminum 1890.0-1891.0 Dn 18
Nickel 15280.0-15290.0 Dn 120
Tin 20700.0-20725.0 Dn 45
Aluminum Alloy 1790.0-1800.0 No change
Aluminum Alloy-NASAAC 1830.0-1850.0 Up 5
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