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Copper price highest since October on supply squeeze

Copper metallurgical plant. (Stock Image)

The copper price surged again on Thursday as stocks continued to fall in a slow-motion re-run of events leading up to last year’s super squeeze.

Copper stocks are once again approaching historically low levels, with only 200,402 tonnes of available inventory officially held by the LME, Comex and SHFE, with New York responsible for more than half the total. 

Shanghai copper climbed 4% to 73,030 yuan a tonne, after earlier hitting 73,040 yuan, also its highest since October 21.

Copper for delivery in March rose on the Comex market in New York, touching $4.7065 per pound ($10,354 per tonne), up 2.1% compared to Wednesday closing, the highest since October.

“Copper held on major exchanges is now at alarming levels, representing just three days of global supply,” ANZ strategists said.

Read more: Copper price: Global stocks are down to three days’ consumption

“LME copper stocks give every appearance of experiencing a second grab-it-while-you-can impulse wave,” wrote Reuters columnist Andy Home.

[Click here for an interactive chart of copper prices]

Copper price: Global stocks are down to three days’ consumption
Source: S&P Global 2022 Forecast: Base metals spotlight

“Copper could be heading towards supercycle territory in the medium term, with price levels expected to reach above $5 per pound in the medium term,” economist and commodity market specialist Patricia Mohr told the audience at the AME conference in Vancouver last week.

Meanwhile, Fitch Solutions said in its outlook for 2022 that the tightness in copper inventories will ease a bit this year, with Chinese smelters increasing production again after the cuts during the power crisis in October.

(With files from Reuters)