Copper declines as China PMI weakens demand outlook
Investing.com - Copper prices fell on Tuesday, after a pair of reports on China's manufacturing sector added to concerns over a deepening slowdown in the world's second largest economy.
Copper for September delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange shed 2.4 cents, or 1.01%, to trade at $2.314 a pound during morning hours in London. A day earlier, prices of the red metal lost 0.8 cents, or 0.36%.
The final Caixin/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers' index for August came in at 47.3, the lowest reading since March 2009.
Meanwhile, the official China's manufacturing purchasing managers' index inched down to 49.7 last month from 50.0 in July, the weakest level since August 2012.
A reading below 50.0 indicates industry contraction. Copper traders view Chinese factory activity as an indicator of the nation's copper demand, as the red metal is widely used by the sector.
Asian shares dropped on Tuesday, with the Shanghai Composite falling 1.2% as appetite for riskier assets weakened amid indications that China's economy is losing momentum.
Copper prices sank to a six-year low of $2.202 on August 24 as concerns over the health of China's economy and steep declines on Chinese stock markets dampened appetite for the red metal.
The turmoil in markets began when China unexpectedly devalued the yuan on August 11, sparking fears that the economy may be slowing at a faster than expected rate.
The Asian nation is the world's largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption last year.
Elsewhere, gold futures for December delivery jumped $9.70, or 0.86%, to trade at $1,142.20 a troy ounce, as steep losses in global equity markets supported demand for the yellow metal.
In Europe, Germany's DAX crashed almost 2%, while the Dow and S&P 500 signaled a drop of at least 1.5% at the open, as fears of a China-led global economic slowdown spooked traders and rattled sentiment.
Investors looked ahead to Friday's U.S. jobs report for August, which could help to provide clarity on the likelihood of a near-term interest rate hike.
The consensus forecast is that the data will show jobs growth of 220,000 last month, following an increase of 215,000 in July, while the unemployment rate is forecast to decline to 5.2% from 5.3%.
Monthly jobs gains above 200,000 are seen by economists as consistent with strong employment growth.
Later in the session, the U.S. Institute of Supply Management is to report on manufacturing growth.
Gold lost 2% last week amid expectations the Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates at its next policy meeting in September.
The timing of a Fed rate hike has been a constant source of debate in the markets in recent months.
Expectations of higher borrowing rates going forward is considered bearish for gold, as the precious metal struggles to compete with yield-bearing assets when rates are on the rise.
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