World Shares Hit Record As Strong China Data Lifts Copper

Bitcoin fell for a fifth day, the longest losing streak in more than a year, after one of China's largest online exchanges said it would stop handling trades by the end of the month amid a government crackdown on cryptocurrencies.

BTC China will immediately stop accepting new account registrations on its BTCChina Exchange, Chief Executive Bobby Lee said Thursday in a tweet. The decision was made after "carefully considering" the September 4 announcement by Chinese regulators that outlawed initial coin offerings, he said.

Commodities

China's steel mills running at full speed: Steel production in China chalked up a fresh monthly record as mills increased output to profit from a rally in prices.

China's ferrous futures tanked across the board on Thursday afternoon, with the benchmark iron ore contract experiencing the heaviest loss of almost 6 per cent compared with the previous day's settlement price, according to Metal Bulletin.  The weathervane billet price in Tangshan also fell 80 yuan per tonne late in the afternoon.

These hit market sentiment, resulting in mills bidding "very low" for iron ore cargoes at Chinese ports, though buying interest for higher-grade materials was described as good, according to market participants. While mills reportedly have enough iron ore in their inventories to last them an average of 25 days, traders are still expecting them to stock up ahead of China's National Day break over October 1-8.

Capital Economics on metals demand in China: "China's August activity and spending data suggest that the slowdown that started in July continued into August. In particular, a downturn in infrastructure spending does not bode well for metals demand. We expect the economy to continue to cool in coming months as a result of the earlier policy tightening, with negative implications for most metals prices."

Copper fell to a four-week low  after some weaker than expected data from China pointed to slowing demand from the metal's top consumer. Benchmark copper fell 0.7 per cent to $US6498 per tonne, after earlier touching its lowest since August 18. Copper has fallen 7 per cent from its September high.

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