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Copper Prices Continue Their Puzzling Journey

Oct. 10, 2019
The downward trend in copper prices reflects a major softening in the industrial market.

What’s Up ‘Doc’? That’s the question people around the world are asking of the Good Doctor Copper.
Last Friday, the Financial Times published an article entitled “Copper Price Reflects Grim Assessment of Global Economy.” The piece went on to cite a variety of issues weighing on the world that we are already aware of – U.S./China and U.S./EU trade problems; Brexit; slowing global growth; negative interest rates; fears of a recession; a growing political crisis unfolding in Washington, etc.

Also last week, Andy Home, wrote an item for Reuters titled “Copper Trapped Between Faltering Supply and Weak Demand.” It’s an excellent read. The difficulty for copper, as well as other industrial materials, can be summed up in a word — uncertainty. When companies don’t know what policies are going to be for trade, the economy, taxes, tariffs, interest rates or politics, they do nothing until clarity returns.

There are other issues also impacting the markets. Last week we saw LME inventories of copper climb 36,175 metric tonnes in one day. That equates to nearly 80 million pounds, or about 2,000 truckloads of metal. And LME inventories of aluminum rose 51,800 mt, or about 114 million pounds last week— that’s a lot of beer cans.
Of course, the physical metal didn’t move, it was just a paper transfer. When is the LME going to change this charade of absurdity in inventory reporting? 

In any event, Dr. Copper is no stranger to strange and inextricable things going on in the markets: The more things change, the more they remain the same. We’ve said it before, and will say it again – the further copper falls, it will be digging a deeper and stronger foundation for the next bull market to begin.

John Gross, publisher of The Copper Journal,  is one of the metals' industry's best resources on copper pricing trends. If you would like to learn more about how to manage your wire and cable inventory in this volatile market environment, email John at by clicking here or calling him at 631-824-6486.