Copper price jumps amid anticipation of 2024 interest rate cuts

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell – Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Copper prices rose sharply on Thursday on expectations of interest rate cuts next year that would boost economic growth and metals demand.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange reached $8,565 per tonne, up 2.8%, the biggest daily gain since Jan. 9 this year.

[Click here for an interactive chart of copper prices]

Copper for delivery in March rose by 3.1% on the Comex market in New York, reaching $3.90 per pound ($8,580 per tonne).

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the historic tightening of monetary policy was likely over as inflation falls faster than expected, with a discussion of cuts in borrowing costs coming “into view.”

The Fed news prompted rallies across global stock markets on Thursday.

The dollar index hit a four-month low, making greenback-priced base metals cheaper for foreign currency buyers.

Copper price gains were further sustained by mine closures and production cuts, which could change the surplus narrative for next year, Saxo Bank’s head of commodities Ole Hansen said.

In the past two weeks, one of the world’s biggest copper mines was ordered to close in the face of fierce public protests, while a slew of operational setbacks has forced one of the leading miners to slash its production forecasts.

The sudden removal of around 600,000 tons of expected supply would move the market from a large expected surplus into balance, or even a deficit, analysts say.

“Supply disruptions, and now the prospect for lower funding costs could trigger a long-awaited re-stocking of copper,” Hansen said.

Also helping improve sentiment about the troubled property sector in top metals consumer China was news that Beijing and Shanghai relaxed home purchase restrictions on Thursday.

(With files from Bloomberg and Reuters)