Copper sinks on more reports of a China slowdown

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News,Business,China,Mining

More signs that China's economy is slowing pushed copper prices lower Thursday.

Copper for May delivery dropped 3.9 cents, or 1.3 percent, to settle at $2.92 a pound.

The Chinese government posted figures for industrial production, retail sales and investment that fell short of what economists had expected.

The price of copper has slumped 5 percent this week following news over the weekend that China's trade slowed last month. China is the world's biggest buyer of copper, so traders tend to sell contracts for the industrial metal on signs the country's economy is slowing down.

Other metals were mixed. Gold for April rose $1.90, or 0.1 percent, to settle at $1,372.40 an ounce. Silver for May slipped 16 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $21.20 an ounce.

Platinum and palladium crept up. Platinum for April gained $3.10, or 0.2 percent, to $1,479.40 an ounce. Palladium for June rose $1.80, also 0.2 percent, to $778.95 an ounce.

In other trading, wheat and corn fell while soybeans edged up.

Wheat for May delivery slipped 10 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $6.74 a bushel. Corn for the same month dropped 3.5 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $4.85 a bushel.

Soybeans for May rose 9.25 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $13.96 a bushel.

In the market for oil and gas, the price of crude oil edged up 21 cents to $98.20 a barrel in New York.

Natural gas fell 10.7 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $4.383 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Wholesale gasoline slipped 0.6 cents to $2.92 per gallon. Heating oil dipped 2 cents to $2.93 per gallon.

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