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Copper Prices Slow Despite Strong Wall Street Optimism

January 9, 2018 at 17:28 by Andrew Moran

Copper futures are trading in the red despite strong optimism from Wall Street. The industrial metal is sinking as the US dollar climbs, but analysts and traders alike are still bullish over copper as 2018 begins.

March copper futures dipped $0.00625, or 0.20%, to $3.217 per pound at 16:09 GMT on Tuesday on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The red metal has gotten off to a slow start, sliding more than 2% year-to-date, but analysts are still high on copper.

The industrial metal took a hit as the US dollar strengthened 0.26%. The greenback is looking to reverse its 2017 descent, which would be bad for commodities like copper because it makes it more expensive for foreign investors to purchase.

Analysts are betting that copper will have an excellent performance in 2018. One reason is global economic growth, something that would drive consumption of the red metal, particularly in China. Over the last month, there have been many upbeat reports over the Beijing economy. But experts say that it will not be only the world’s second-largest economy to drive prices, copper could find support in Canada, the US, and the United Kingdom.

President Donald Trump and the Republicans have made it clear that infrastructure spending is on top of the agenda in 2018. This would help copper rally when the Trump administration makes a formal announcement on rebuilding bridges, repairing roads, and launching transportation projects.

Emerging markets could also play a big part in the infrastructure-copper connection. To ensure that these areas become developed, governments may be investing in infrastructure and urbanization in the coming years.

China recently dominated copper headlines after it was reported that the government is tightening restrictions on foreign waste, prompting metal recyclers and smelters to consider using Southeast Asian nations as alternative locations for processing copper scrap.

Investors are also paying close attention to the contract negotiations at mines in Chile and Peru. Observers say that talks between miners and 32 unions may not go as smoothly as operators wold hope, and this could be a boon for prices in the short-term.

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