Darren Kugler
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Darren Kugler in Commodities,

Industrial Metals Retreat on China Home Price Slump, Fed Outlook

Copper fell for the first time in three days, leading industrial metals lower, after home pricesweakened in the biggest user China and as the dollar climbed after the Federal Reserve raised interest-rate estimates.

Copper dropped as much as 0.9 percent on the London Metal Exchange after closing at the highest price since Sept. 8 yesterday. China’s new-home prices dropped in 68 of the state-tracked 70 cities in August from July, the National Bureau of Statistics said today, the most since January 2011 when the government changed the way it compiles the data. The property market accounts for 50 percent of the nation’s copper demand, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. estimates.

“The weakness in China’s property market would reduce demand for metals,” said Kazuhiko Saito, an analyst at Fujitomi Co., a commodities broker in Tokyo.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which measures the greenback against 10 major currencies, rose for a second day, heading for the highest close since June 2010. A stronger dollar makes commodities priced in the greenback more expensive for buyers using other currencies and also reduces the appeal of raw materials as an alternative investment.

Copper for delivery in three months on the LME retreated to as low as $6,872.25 a metric ton and traded at $6,878 by 11:37 a.m. in Tokyo. Prices have fallen 6.5 percent this year, the most among the six main metals on the exchange.

In New York, the contract for December delivery fell 0.6 percent to $3.124 a pound. The metal for delivery in November dropped 1 percent to 49,000 yuan ($7,976) a ton on the Shanghai Futures Exchange.

On the LME, aluminum, zinc, nickel and lead also declined. Tin hadn’t traded.