Mining News

Copper price jumps on Fed’s upbeat view of the economy

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Copper price jumped on Thursday as the US Federal Reserve’s upbeat reading of the world’s largest economy stoked risk appetite.

March delivery contracts were exchanging hands for $4.32 a pound ($9,504 a tonne) by midday on the Comex market in New York, up 3.2% compared to Wednesday’s closing.

Click here for an interactive chart of copper prices.

“The rising US interest rates next year are a signal that the economy is in good shape and the Fed is giving the impression that everything is under control,” said Daniel Briesemann, an analyst at Commerzbank.

The Fed said the US economy would remain resilient despite the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant and pointed to low unemployment figures as it paved the way for three quarter-percentage-point interest rate hikes by the end of 2022.

The news boosted global stocks and commodities as the dollar eased.

Copper forecast

BMO Capital Markets warned that current copper price levels were “elevated relative to fundamentals, particularly as demand wanes”, but said the metal was its top pick in the longer term due to “its perennially disappointing supply side and strategic role in global decarbonisation”.

Fastmarkets said in a note the deficit in the global refined copper market is set to prevail in 2022.

“Total world copper mine production growth could surge to 7% in 2022 from just 2% in 2021. Such strong growth will bring the global concentrate market back to balance in 2022 after two deep deficit years. However, we expect a higher rate of supply disruptions next year given so much new and expanded capacity due to come online or ramp up,” said Fastmarkets.

Peruvian supply

MMG Ltd said on Thursday it would be unable to continue production at its Las Bambas copper mine in Peru after talks with locals to end a 27-day road blockade, the latest of several in the past year, failed.

Residents of the Chumbivilcas province demand jobs and economic contributions from the company, which they say generally fails to benefit the local community despite its great wealth.

The mine, which accounts for 2% of global copper supply, will produce about 290,000 tonnes of copper concentrates this year to Dec. 18. The company had already said In July that 2021 production at the mine was expected in the low end of its 310,00-330,000 tonnes forecast.

Stockpiles on site are now approximately 60,770 tonnes of copper in concentrate, MMG said in the statement.

(With files from Reuters)

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