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Outlook for metal especially copper looks grim

BHP might be a good one to sreen. Way down off its 52-week high

A Good Year for Metal Bashers


Hear that crash? It's the sound of falling metal.

Base metals, the hard end of the industrialized economy, are feeling the sharp end of economic uncertainty. Cash copper prices on the London Metal Exchange have dropped 6% since the end of August, a dreadful month itself, and now sit just above mid-May's low point for the year.

Industrial metals have spent 2011 trying to outrun deteriorating economic growth in the Western world and monetary tightening—or at least an end to loosening—pretty much everywhere. The first setback came in the spring, when the Libyan-inspired spike in energy prices emerged to threaten consumers. Aluminum and especially smaller markets such as tin, nickel and lead picked up again, but quickly ran into early May's broad rout in commodity markets.

In the latest sell-off, the euro-zone's travails dominate. Amid such nervousness a newspaper report saying clients of Chile's Codelco, the world's largest copper producer by volume, were cancelling orders forced renewed selling this week. While the Dow Jones-UBS Commodity index is about flat for the year, held up by oil and grains, all the major industrial metals are now down since December.
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