Copper price keeps soaring despite China’s attempt to cool rally

Copper smelter (Image: KGHM)

Copper price rose on Wednesday, one day after China’s National Food & Strategic Reserves Administration announced that it intended to sell 20,000 tonnes of copper in an initial batch of sales of state metal reserves.

The release of state metal reserves in China, the world’s biggest metals consumer, is one of a number of attempts by Beijing to cool a stellar rally in commodity prices that has squeezed manufacturers’ margins.

Copper for delivery in July rose 2.6% from Tuesday’s settlement price, touching $4.342 per pound ($9,552 per tonne) midday Wednesday on the Comex market in New York.

Click here for an interactive chart of copper prices

Click on image for an interactive price chart. MINING.COM

According to Citigroup, Beijing’s measures “target managing expectations and deterring speculators rather than solving supply/demand imbalances.”

Demand for copper is rising for use in renewable energy projects and electric vehicles.

“We do not think the rally is over,” the bank said in a note.

Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg said on Tuesday that copper supplies need to increase by one million tonnes a year until 2050 to meet an expected demand of 60 million tonnes, but he stopped short of predicting a supercycle.

“Today, the world consumes 30 million tonnes of copper per year and by the year 2050, following this trajectory, we’ve got to produce 60 million tonnes of copper per year,” he said.

“If you look at the historical past 10 years, we’ve only added 500,000 tonnes per year … Do we have the projects? I don’t think so. I think it will be extremely difficult.”

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(With files from Reuters and Bloomberg)

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