Copper price tops $10,000 a tonne for first time in ten years

Production of copper wire, bronze cable in reels at factory. (Stock Image)

Copper topped $10,000 a tonne for the first time since 2011, nearing the all-time high set that year as rebounding economies stoke demand and mines struggle to keep up.

Prices rose as much as 1.3% to $10,008 a tonne on the London Metal Exchange, before slipping back to trade near unchanged. The metal hit a record $10,190 in February 2011.

Copper for delivery in May was down 0.3% midday Thursday, with futures at $4.4860 per pound ($9,8615 a tonne) on the Comex market in New York.

Analyst at CRU Group Robert Edwards believes copper has further to go:

”The copper price has gone stratospheric and probably has further to go, which is a boon for miners who are currently making at least two dollars for every one they spend getting metal out of the ground,”

Click here for an interactive chart of copper prices

The rally in copper, which has more than doubled in price from its covid-lows, has been fuelled by a widely-held belief that demand for the bellwether metal will receive a massive boost, not just from post-pandemic economic stimulus, but also from a worldwide push for decarbonisation. 

For Tai Wong, head of metals derivatives trading at BMO Capital Markets, the all-time high at $10,190 is just around the corner and now practically a “foregone conclusion,”

“This is a remarkable run for copper in terms of magnitude and consistency,”

Senior commodities strategist at ING Bank Wenyu Yao also believes the copper rally still has legs to go:

“The outlook for the US economy keeps getting better. Economic reopening coupled with massive stimulus, faster-than-expected vaccine rollouts, and supportive fundamentals all point to even higher prices,”

While almost all agree copper’s longer-term future is bright, there is much less consensus on how much the price of the metal will shine in the next few years.

A monthly poll conducted by FocusEconomics shows wide disparities in forecast prices by the investment banks, brokers, economists, and governments in the survey compiled April 13 –18.

(With files from Bloomberg)

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