Copper drops due to Asian weakness

The price of copper is down 1% as fears over weak demand in Australasia are weighing on sentiment.

Over the weekend the HSBC Chinese manufacturing purchasing managers (PMI) report confirmed that the China’s manufacturing sector contracted in May. The original reading came in at 49.6 but it was revised down to 49.2. China is the largest importer of copper in the world, so when their manufacturing industry shrinks for the first time in seven months traders are likely to become concerned about future growth prospects.

During the week, a worse-than-expected gross domestic product (GDP) figure was posted for Australia; economists were expecting a growth rate of 0.8% for the first quarter of 2013, compared with the previous three months, but it expanded only 0.6%. The Australian economy is very commodity and export driven, and this lower-than-expected level of growth highlights the falling demand for natural resources.

The manufacturing sector in the UK has expanded beyond analysts’ expectations, which is a positive step, but the eurozone is still in a recession. Traders will be looking towards the US non-farms report tomorrow to gauge how strong the country's economy is, which in turn will be an indication of the demand for the red metal; a strong jobs report could push copper higher.

High Grade Copper chart

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