China produces more steel than the rest of the world combined and Beijing is implementing production curbs this year as it works toward a target of reaching carbon neutrality by 2060.
Copper for delivery in December fell 3% from Friday’s settlement price, touching $4.116 per pound ($9,166 per tonne) midday Monday on the Comex market in New York, a month low. Copper prices hit a record high of more than $10,500 a tonne in May.
Chinese property giant Evergrande is weighed down by a $300 billion debt burden and a collapse could send ripple effects across the sector. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng property index fell to its lowest since 2016 . The Chinese real estate and building sectors are the main driver of steel consumption and also accounts for roughly a fifth of copper demand.
Top mining companies were caught up in the turmoil on equity markets with heavy-volume declines across the board.
Global number three iron ore and number two copper producer BHP fell 3.4% in New York, bringing its Q3 slump to over 26%. Rio Tinto fell nearly 4% while Vale, which vies with the Anglo-Australian giant as top iron ore producer, was down 6.4%. Rio de Janeiro-based Vale has shed a third of its value since end-June while Rio has given up 22%.
Anglo American ADRs trading in New York fell nearly 6%, bringing losses over just the past month to 20%. Units of Glencore trading on US markets declined 5.5% but the Swiss-based miner and commodities trader, unlike its peers managed to remain in positive territory for the quarter.