By Ira Iosebashvili
The price of copper fell Thursday, putting the metal within striking distance of a fresh multiyear low as weak U.S. manufacturing data bolstered concern over the health of the global economy.
Copper for August delivery dropped 1.1% to $2.5535 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices hit $2.537 earlier this month, the lowest level since 2017.
A widely followed measure of manufacturing activity, IHS Markit's flash reading for the manufacturing purchasing managers index, clocked in at 49.9 for August.
That was the lowest reading since 2009 and an indication that manufacturing activity, which is defined as expanding when readings are above 50, contracted for the first time in years.
The U.S. numbers dovetail with data from other major economies showing a slump in manufacturing, a negative development for copper. It tends to be sensitive to economic data because it is a key component in everything from smartphones to refrigerators.
Net bearish bets on copper in futures markets hit their highest level in around three years earlier this month, a sign that investors have grown increasingly pessimistic on the outlook for the metal in the midst of slowing global growth and a weakening Chinese economy.
China is one of the world's largest copper consumers, accounting for some 45% of global demand.
In precious metals, gold for August delivery fell 0.5% to $1,497.30 a troy ounce.
Meanwhile, U.S. oil dropped 0.6% at $55.35 a barrel. Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down 0.6% to $59.92 a barrel.
Write to Ira Iosebashvili at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 22, 2019 18:00 ET (22:00 GMT)
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