Chinese factory shocker gives copper price bulls another jolt

Backdrop for copper not great. Octavio Araneda took the helm of Codelco in September. (Image courtesy of Codelco | Flickr)

The price of copper dropped on Monday amid intensifying worries about China’s economic slowdown, particularly in manufacturing, vital to overall demand for the bellwether metal.

In afternoon trading in New York, copper for delivery in July was trading just off its low for the day of $2.638 a pound ($5,815 a tonne), down more than 2% on the day and wiping out any gains for 2019 in the process.

“Everything indicates that the price of copper will not improve next year.”

Octavio Araneda, CEO CODELCO

Trade worries have dogged copper price bulls for the better part of a year, but more recently weak data from China (and the US and Germany, the world’s top three consumers of industrial metals), has intensified the sell off.

Chinese manufacturing data for August released Monday was nothing short of dismal with the National Bureau of Statistics outlining a 4.4% rise in factory output which was well below forecasts and the lowest reading since February 2002.

The CEO of the world’s number one producer of copper, Chile’s Codelco, did not provide any solace to copper bulls, telling local media that prices will remain depressed through 2020, Reuters reports.

Recently installed chief executive Octavio Araneda, said: “Everything indicates that the price of copper will not improve next year. The trade war is difficult to predict,” adding that the state-owned company would instead seek to immediately boost production.

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