Friday, February 26, 2016
COPPER PRICES PLUMMET ON CHINA WORRIES, OIL COLLAPSE
The London Metal Exchange’s three-month copper contract fell as much as 1.4%, the most since Feb. 10, to $4,580 a metric ton and was at $4,591.50 by 12:11 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange. Other industrial metals were also trading lower.
The drop in prices dragged producers of the red metal along. Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX), the world’s largest listed copper miner, was down more than 8% to $6.6 Wednesday morning.
BHP Billiton (ASX, NYSE:BHP) sank as much as 9.05% in New York, following its biggest slide since 2008 in Sydney, where it closed 8.22% down to $16.18. The world’s largest miner on Tuesday cut its dividend for the first time in 15 years as first-half profit tumbled 92%.
Glencore (LON:GLEN), another top red metal producer, was one of the most affected. The stock was more than 10% down to 116p in late afternoon European trading.
Antofagasta (LON:AAL), also saw its shares crumble. The Chilean miner was down more than 5% in London midafternoon. And world’s No. 2 miner, Rio Tinto (LON:RIO), was shedding almost 5.6% at 3:30 pm GMT.
Copper is a key component in manufacturing of everything from high tech devices to houses, and it is often looked to as a gauge of economic health. China’s speedy expansion of recent years has been a strong demand driver, but weakening conditions there and robust global production have come to weigh heavily on the market.