Copper inventories on the London Metal Exchange reached the highest level in nearly two years, continuing a rebound that’s taking the strain off buyers after years of chronic supply constraints.
Stockpiles rose for a sixth day to reach 181,150 metric tons, extending a threefold increase since July. That comes against the backdrop of a deteriorating demand outlook in traditional sectors like construction and a sharp rise in production that is set to push the market into a sizable surplus next year.
The copper market’s slackening supply dynamics — unwinding a key support for prices this year — have contributed to a gloomy mood among traders and investors at LME Week in London, the metals industry’s biggest annual gathering. There are broad expectations the market will become critically tight again in future years as usage surges in renewables and electric vehicles, but in the short term the key point of debate is how big next year’s surplus will be.
Copper prices on the LME fell 0.5% to $7,980.50 a ton as of 4:30 p.m. London time. Other metals were mixed, with nickel rising 1.4% and aluminum falling 0.6%.
(By Mark Burton)