The copper price hit an 18-month high on an intraday basis last week as global manufacturing activity continues to pick up and hopes about US president-elect Trump’s $500 billion infrastructure plans lift sentiment.
In Asian trade on Monday copper for delivery in March, the most active contract, jumped 1% to exchange hands for $2.6515 per pound ($5,845 a tonne) on the Comex market in New York.
After vastly underperforming other metals and steelmaking raw materials in 2016, copper is looking much healthier than pre-Trump with a 34% rise from six-year lows hit in January this year.
Better prospects for the bellwether metal is nowhere more evident than on derivatives markets and the shift in positioning of large-scale derivatives speculators such as hedge funds.
While continuing to reduce bullish silver, platinum and gold bets, on the copper market hedge funds have added to long positions – bets on higher prices in future – for four weeks in a row.
According to the CFTC’s weekly Commitment of Traders data up to November 29 so-called managed money investors have taken net longs to a fresh recored high of just under 81,000 lots.
That’s the equivalent of just over 2 billion pounds and shatters the previous peaks achieved mid-2014 when the copper price was above $3.20 a pound.