By Ira Iosebashvili
Copper prices fell to their lowest level in a month Friday as investors locked in gains on anticipation that China's economy will slow in the next few months.
Copper for December delivery closed down 0.3% at $2.9490 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, its lowest close since Aug. 15.
China's August industrial production was the weakest since December, while investment growth in the year to date hit its lowest level since 1999, data showed earlier this week. Economic reports in July also undershot expectations.
Copper is heavily used in construction and manufacturing, making its price sensitive to signs of flagging growth. China's economic health is particularly important to copper investors, as the country accounts for some 45% of global demand for the metal.
"We continue to expect China's economy to slow later this year and the latest activity data add to evidence that this is already happening," analysts at Capital Economics said in a note to clients.
After a sharp rally this summer, prices for copper and other metals "look increasingly vulnerable to a correction over the coming months," the firm said.
Despite falling in recent days, copper prices are still up around 13% since June.
In precious metals, December gold closed down 0.3% at $1,325.20 a troy ounce.
Write to Ira Iosebashvili at [email protected]