Copper prices fell 2.7% to $2.609 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange Wednesday, entering bear market territory after slipping to a 13-month low on Tuesday.
Copper prices are now down 20% from the four-year highs that were reached in June due in part to another round of shaky economic news coming out of China.
Adding to the downward pressure on copper prices was a Bloomberg report that the union at Chile's Escondida mine, the world's largest, is close to reaching an agreement with BHP Billiton (BHP) - Get Report that will resume production at the mine and increase the supply of copper on the market.
Other miners getting hammered Wednesday include Rio Tinto Plc (RIO) - Get Report , which is down 4.65%, Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (FCX) - Get Report , which is down 9.7%, Vale S.A. (VALE) - Get Report , which declined 4.9%, and Newmont Mining Corp (NEM) - Get Report , which is falling 5.36%.
China, the world's largest commodity consumer, as well as the country that is responsible for about half of the world's copper demand, reported that fixed-asset investments in the country's nonrural areas grew at a 5.5% rate during the first seven months of the year.
That increase matched the lowest rate of growth in the country since 1999.