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Markets

Copper climbs as investors return to market after slump

  • The metal used in power and construction had more than doubled during a rally from March 2020 to May this year, when it hit a record peak of $10,747.50
Published August 23, 2021

LONDON: Copper prices jumped on Monday as investors took advantage of lower prices to buy in anticipation that recovering global growth and the needs of a lower-carbon global economy will drive demand.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) rose 2% to $9,221.50 a tonne in official trading, building on gains of 1.6% in the previous session.

The metal used in power and construction had more than doubled during a rally from March 2020 to May this year, when it hit a record peak of $10,747.50.

"If you're an institutional investor, you need to take account of the green transition themes and metals would be one area to go long. Perhaps you didn't want to buy copper at $10,000, but at $9,000 it looks like better value," said independent consultant Robin Bhar.

Copper rises as Chile strike threat sparks supply worries

Many investors target copper because its conductive qualities will be needed for the expansion of electrification in transport and industry in the coming years.

"We needed to correct the overheated prices and now we are assessing where to go from here," Bhar said. "The big question is whether the fourth quarter will see a pick up in industrial activity and therefore support slightly higher prices."

Slowing Chinese economic growth, fears of US policy tightening and surging coronavirus cases because of the highly transmissible Delta variant had weighed on base metals, with copper hitting a more than four-month low last week.

However, investor sentiment was buoyed on Monday after business activity in the euro zone grew strongly this month, a survey showed, while top metals consumer China reported no new COVID-19 cases for the first time since July.

The global world refined copper market showed a surplus of 2,000 tonnes in May, compared with a deficit of 86,000 tonnes in April, the International Copper Study Group said.

LME aluminium rose 1.7% in official activity to $2,589 a tonne, nickel climbed 2.4% to $18,898, zinc added 0.7% to $2,947.50, lead advanced 1.7% to $2,289 and tin was up 1.2% at $32,634.

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