By Joe Richter and Agnieszka Troszkiewicz – May 23, 2012

Copper dropped to a four-month low in New York on concern that slowing growth in China and the risk of Greece leaving the euro signal weaker demand for the metal.

European leaders meeting in Brussels are seeking to keep Greece within the 17-nation monetary union, a day after the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said the crisis could spiral and damage the world economy. Growth in China, the world biggest copper user, will slow to 8.2 percent this year from 9.2 percent in 2011, the World Bank said.

“Given this gloomy backdrop, we expect that markets will continue to be on the defensive for much of this week, at least until we see more specifics coming out from the EU policy meeting,” Edward Meir, an analyst at INTL FCStone in New York, said in a report.

Copper futures for July delivery slid 2.6 percent to settle at $3.396 a pound at 1:19 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Earlier, the metal touched $3.3865, the lowest since Jan. 9.

The Chinese economy may have the worst growth in more than two decades if Greece abandons the euro, economists at investment bank China International Capital Corp. said in an e- mailed report today.

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index, which tracks 24 raw materials, fell as much as 2.3 percent to the lowest level this year. It dropped 0.9 percent yesterday as the dollar rallied on demand for a haven.

Inventories Rise

Copper inventories monitored by the London Metal Exchange rose for the fourth time in five sessions to 225,700 metric tons, daily exchange figures showed.

On the LME, copper for delivery in three months fell 2.7 percent to $7,531 a ton ($3.42 a pound).

Aluminum for three-month delivery on the LME declined 1 percent to $2,009 a ton. Orders to draw the lightweight metal from warehouses climbed to 1.73 million tons, the highest level since at least 1997.

Zinc, lead, nickel and tin were also lower in London.

To contact the reporters on this story: Joe Richter in New York at jrichter1@bloomberg.net; Agnieszka Troszkiewicz in London atatroszkiewic@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net


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