Chinese factory data adds to copper decline

Copper futures declined for the third time in four days after a report showed a factory gauge fell to a six-month low in China, the world’s top user of industrial metals.

The preliminary Purchasing Managers’ Index from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics in November was 50, below the median estimate of 50.2 in a Bloomberg News survey of analysts. A reading above 50 indicate expansion. Before easing, the dollar reached a five-year high against a basket of 10 currencies on speculation the Federal Reserve is moving closer to raising U.S. interest rates.

“The Chinese numbers are adding pressure on the base- metals complex,” Mike Dragosits, a senior commodity strategist at TD Securities in Toronto, said in a telephone interview. “The dollar’s strength continues to act against commodities.”

Copper futures for March delivery declined 0.5% to $3.017 a pound at 10:53 a.m. on the Comex in New York. Through yesterday, the price fell 11% this year.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months dropped 0.3% to $6,666 a metric ton ($3.02 a pound).

Nickel rose as much as 1.7% to $16,425 a ton, the highest since Oct. 15. Yesterday, the metal jumped 3.2% after Indonesia said a ban on exports of unprocessed ore remains in place, reinforcing concern that global demand is set to exceed supplies. Through yesterday, the price jumped 16% this year.

Aluminum and tin gained in London, while zinc and lead dropped.