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Copper Rallies 1% on Bullish Investors, Rebound in Chinese Imports

March 12, 2019 at 17:50 by Andrew Moran

Copper futures are rallying as much as 1% on Tuesday as the industrial metal tries to stay above the $2.90 mark. The copper market is benefiting from investors pouring money into the red metal and Chinese concentrate imports hitting a monthly record. Does it spell a recovery for copper?

May copper futures rose $0.0275, or 0.95%, to $2.9285 per pound at 17:14 GMT on Tuesday on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Copper, which slipped 0.3% last week, is up nearly 11% so far this year.

After months of shorting the industrial metal, the latest data suggests that money managers and hedge funds are bullish on copper. In the week ending March 5, net long holdings increased by 7,488 contracts to 23,126, according to the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The last time this level was seen on the CME Group copper contract was the middle of 2018.

Ostensibly, investors are attempting to get some type of exposure to Chinese fiscal and monetary easing, a potential US-China trade deal, and copper’s strong fundamentals.

On the data front, China’s imports of copper concentrate rose to 1.93 million tonnes in February, representing a 25% increase from the same time a year ago. On an annualized basis, the world’s biggest consumer of copper could see these imports top last year’s record high of 1.97 million tonnes.

Meanwhile, the country’s imports of unwrought copper declined by 33% in February to 311,000 tonnes. This was the lowest monthly total since March 2018 – Beijing imported an all-time high of 5.3 million tonnes of refined copper last year.

Peru, one of the world’s largest copper producers, announced that exports slipped by 7.4% in January, compared to the same time in the previous year. The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism blamed tumbling sales – 11.6% year-over-year – for its lower mineral exports. Overall, mineral production was down 1.26% in January.

In other metal commodities, April gold futures fell $11.10, or 0.85%, to $1,288.10 an ounce. May silver futures added $0.13, or 0.85%, to $15.40 per ounce. May platinum futures tacked on $14.20, or 1.74%, to $831.00 an ounce. May palladium futures surged $10.70, or 0.72%, to $1,492.70 per ounce

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