Copper price heads for biggest quarterly plunge since 2011

The Divers at Dubai Mall Waterfalls (Adobe Stock)

Copper prices are down almost 20% in the second quarter, the biggest quarterly fall since 2011, after covid lockdowns in China and slowing economic growth curtailed demand.

Copper for delivery in September fell 2.2% from Wednesday’s settlement, touching $3.70 per pound ($8,140 per tonne) Thursday morning on the Comex market in New York, the lowest since February 2021.

Click here for an interactive chart of copper prices

Other industrial metals were also headed for their biggest quarterly fall in several years, down between 20% and 40%.

“We still see metals falling as a recession in the US is fully priced in,” said Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann.

Copper fell 19.8% in the first quarter of 2020 when covid-19 spread worldwide. There has been no other quarterly plunge on that scale since 2011.

CME copper money manager positioning

“Right now fund managers are evidently in no mood to worry about copper’s micro dynamics. It’s the big picture that counts, and the big picture is one of darkening economic clouds on the horizon,” wrote Reuters columnist Andy Home.

Briesemann said copper could slip as low as $7,000-$7,500 in Q3, but prices should rise towards the year-end.

(With files from Reuters)