Copper lost 2.2% to $6,615.50 per ton, in its worst week in over a month and a half, hit by fears of a slowdown in demand by China. The Asian nation is the world’s largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption last year.
According to the purchasing managers index (PMI) official on Thursday, manufacturing activity grew less than expected in April. The day before, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a major government think tank, revised its growth forecast for 2014 to 7.4%, below the official target of 7.5%.
A similar report by HSBC and Markit put the figure at 48.3, and while improving it indicates a contraction in the industrial sector. However, physical demand for copper in China is on the rise, as construction enters active season. Additionally, the state reserve is buying massive amounts of bonded metal, perhaps to fuel a targeted 7 million new units of public housing this year.