Investing.com - Copper prices declined on Tuesday, along with gold and other metals, as market players reduced exposure to riskier assets ahead of the Federal Reserve's policy meeting.
The Fed is widely expected to raise interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade at the conclusion of its two day policy meeting at 2:00PM ET on Wednesday. The central bank will also release its latest forecasts for economic growth and interest rates.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen is to hold what will be a closely-watched press conference 30 minutes after the release of the Fed's statement, as investors look for signals about the path of future rate hikes.
Many in the market anticipate the pace of increases to be gradual amid concerns over tepid growth overseas and divergent monetary policies between the U.S. and other nations.
Copper for March delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange shed 2.5 cents, or 1.17%, to trade at $2.087 a pound during morning hours in London. A day earlier, prices lost 0.5 cents, or 0.24%.
Meanwhile, three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange slumped 1.07% to $4632.50 a metric ton.
Copper is on track to post an annual decline of 27% in 2015 as fears of a China-led global economic slowdown spooked traders and rattled sentiment. The Asian nation is the world's largest copper consumer, accounting for nearly 45% of world consumption.
Elsewhere in metals trading, gold futures struggled near one-week lows on Tuesday, ahead of a widely anticipated U.S. rate hike by the Federal Reserve.
The yellow metal is on track to post an annual decline of 10% in 2015, the third yearly loss in a row, as speculation over the timing of a Fed rate hike dominated market sentiment for most of the year. Expectations of higher borrowing rates going forward is considered bearish for gold, as the precious metal struggles to compete with yield-bearing assets when rates are on the rise.
Meanwhile, silver futures for March delivery dipped 2.0 cents, or 0.15%, to trade at $13.67 a troy ounce. Prices slumped to $13.62 on Monday, a level not seen since August 2009.
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