Copper declined for the first time in three days in London on concern demand in China, the biggest metal buyer, will slow after property prices fell.
China's home prices posted their worst performance this year with more than half of the 70 biggest cities monitored in November recording declines after the government reiterated plans to maintain property curbs.
The death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il prompted investors to sell equities and commodities.
"Geopolitical tensions have increased with the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and that, combined with poor Chinese house price data, seem to have helped undermine sentiment across the markets," William Adams, head of research at Basemetals.com in London, said in a report yesterday.
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Copper for delivery in three months fell 0.7 per cent to $7,302 (Dh26,816) a metric tonne by 9:43am on the London Metal Exchange (LME). The metal has fallen 24 per cent this year, heading for the first annual decline since 2008. Copper for March-delivery declined 0.7 per cent to $330.85 a pound on the Comex in New York.
New home prices in China dropped from the previous month in 49 of the cities monitored by the government, compared with 33 posting decreases in October, the national statistics bureau said in a statement on its website yesterday. Only five cities had gains in home prices, according to the statement.
Metal demand in China may grow at a slower pace in 2012 and prices may be lower than this year, Wang Huajun, deputy secretary-general of the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association, said yesterday.
"It is unlikely to see metals demand to grow at more than 10 per cent next year," given the macroeconomic environment, Wang said.
Copper stockpiles monitored by the LME declined to the lowest level this year, exchange data showed yesterday. Inventories fell 1.9 per cent to 373,950 tonnes.