Copper Futures See Biggest Loss in Seven Weeks on Weak Manufacturing Data From China

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Sep 24, 2012) - Copper futures last week saw their biggest decline in seven weeks after manufacturing data and trade disputes with Japan raised concerns over future demand. Demand from China, responsible for roughly 40 percent of the world's copper consumption, is expected to increase by 4.2 percent in 2012, below previous estimates of a 5 percent gain according to China International Capital Corp. The Paragon Report examines investing opportunities in the Copper Industry and provides equity research on Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. ( NYSE : FCX ) and Taseko Mines Ltd. ( NYSE : TGB ) ( TSX : TKO ).

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The HSBC Flash China manufacturing purchasing managers' index preliminary reading of 47.8 in September signaled an 11th month of contraction. China's gross domestic product has contracted for six consecutive quarters. The country's GDP in the second quarter expanded 7.6 percent, which was the smallest growth in three years. Copper prices have gained roughly 13 percent since early August on announcements of stimulus measures from central banks in Europe and the U.S.

"China's manufacturing sector continues to struggle, weighed down by a significant domestic slowdown, a wholly unsupportive external climate and a completely insufficient policy response," said Alistair Thornton of IHS Global Insight. "The government has underestimated the pace of the slowdown and is behind the curve."

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FCX is the world's largest publicly traded copper producer and has a dynamic portfolio of operating, expansion and growth projects in the copper industry. The company's estimated consolidated reserves include 102.0 billion pounds of copper, 40.0 million ounces of gold, 2.48 billion pounds of molybdenum, 266.6 million ounces of silver and 0.7 billion pounds of cobalt.

Taseko is the 75% owner and operator of the Gibraltar Mine, which is the second largest copper-molybdenum mine in Canada. In addition, Taseko is currently in the Environmental Assessment process for the New Prosperity project, the 7th largest undeveloped gold-copper deposit in the world.

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