Copper futures on the Shanghai Futures Exchange slumped by their daily limit to an eight-month low as speculators quit the metal after mines in Chile, the world's biggest producer, reopened following an earthquake.
BHP Billiton Ltd. and Chile's government-owned Codelco yesterday said operations in the Antofagasta region had resumed as power was restored after a Nov. 14 earthquake. December copper futures in New York fell 6.5 percent yesterday after rising 6.1 percent the day before on the shutdowns.
"The movement in the domestic market has been influenced by the volatility in the international markets," said Xu Po, an analyst at Qilu Futures Co. in Shandong. "Too many speculators entered long when the news of the Chilean earthquake broke and scrambled to cover when it turned out to be nothing."
January-delivery copper on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell as much as the exchange-imposed limit of 4 percent from the previous settlement price to 58,200 yuan ($7,839) a ton and closed at that level, the lowest close since March 14.
The metal for immediate delivery in Changjiang, Shanghai's biggest cash market, lost as much as 2.3 percent to 59,520 yuan a ton today. London Metal Exchange copper for delivery in three months extended yesterday's 2.8 percent loss to decline 0.8 percent to $6,875 a ton at 3:21 p.m. Shanghai time.
March-delivery copper on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange traded 0.1 percent lower at $3.1175 a pound.
Global stockpiles of the metal monitored by the London exchange are at their highest since April. Still, Shanghai copper stockpiles fell 3.9 percent to 56,882 metric tons, the exchange said in a weekly report today.
Shanghai zinc for January delivery also slumped by the 4 percent limit to 20,200 yuan a ton, and LME zinc for delivery in three months lost 1.6 percent to $2,547 a ton.
Shanghai aluminum for January delivery closed 1.4 percent lower at 18,000 yuan, and LME aluminum fell 0.2 percent to $2,565 a ton.
Among other LME-traded metals, lead was 1.4 percent down at $3,440 a ton, nickel lost 0.6 percent to $31,500 a ton, and tin didn't trade in Asia after settling yesterday 1.1 percent lower at $17,375 a ton.