Copper futures tumbled to the lowest level in more than six years on Tuesday, as concerns over the health of China’s economy dampened appetite for the red metal. Copper for December delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange hit an intraday low of $2.225 a pound, a level not seen since July 2009, before trading at $2.234 during morning hours in London, down 1.8 cents, or 0.79%. A day earlier, copper lost 3.2 cents, or 1.4%, after data showed profits earned by Chinese industrial companies in August fell 8.8% from a year earlier. Private sector data last week revealed that manufacturing activity in China in September contracted at the fastest pace since the global financial crisis, fueling fears over slackening demand for the industrial metal. Copper prices have been under heavy selling pressure in recent weeks 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 almost 40% of world consumption last year. The slumping copper and commodities markets are hitting shares of raw material producers hard. Stocks in mining behemoth Glencore (LONDON:GLEN) sank nearly 30% and closed at a record low in London on Monday, while BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) and Noble Group (SIN:NOBG) dropped to their lowest level since 2008 on Tuesday. Elsewhere in metals trading, gold futures for December delivery shed $5.00, or 0.44%, to trade at $1,126.70 a troy ounce as market players continued to speculate over the timing of a Federal Reserve rate hike. Most economists believe the Fed will begin raising rates in December after holding policy steady earlier this month due to concerns over soft inflation and the effects of recent market volatility on the U.S. economy.