Copper futures fell sharply Tuesday on the Commodity Exchange in New York as a host of factors, including government economic reports and influence from other markets, combined to pressure prices.
Copper fell partially because the Commerce Department’s index of leading indicators fell 0.2% in March and new orders to U.S. factories for manufacturing declined 0.9% for the second straight month, analysts said.
“The general indications that the economy is slowing down and the likelihood of less copper consumption” combined to pressure prices, said Bill O’Neill, director of research in New York with Rudolph Wolff Commodities.
He also said the sharp decline in the British pound pressured copper, as traders bought the metal in London while simultaneously selling it in New York to take advantage of the disparity in currency values.
In addition, he said, the sharp decline in gold and silver prices and technical factors such as trends on price charts encouraged sellers in the copper market.
Copper settled 1.8 cents to 2.05 cents lower with the contract for delivery in May at 60.95 cents a pound.