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Copper Rebounds After Weak Q3 Performance

October 2, 2018 at 18:21 by Andrew Moran

Copper futures are rebounding on Tuesday after falling in the third quarter. The industrial metal, which has been sliding on US-China trade war fears, is looking to reverse course in the final three months of 2018 on copper-positive supply data.

December copper futures tacked on $0.02, or 0.7%, to $2.81 per pound at 17:52 GMT on Tuesday on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. In the July-to-September period, copper prices tumbled 5.6%, though it had an impressive one-month performance of 7.9%. So far this year, the red metal has plunged more than 16%.

The short-term performance of copper has largely been driven by China, a nation that has seen its economy slow down significantly and its currency plunge to a 13-month low. The world’s largest economy is also the world’s biggest consumer of copper.

In September, Chinese manufacturing growth was sluggish, as domestic and foreign demand fell. Many contend that the trade dispute between the two biggest economies is weighing heavily on the industrial metals market because investors cannot forecast if demand will continue to be strong or eventually crash.

Recent data suggests that international demand is generally bullish. Copper stockpiles in London Metal Exchange (LME) warehouses totaled 199,125 tonnes, down by half since March and the lowest it has been since December 2017. This has spurred concerns of shortages, adding a premium of $6 per tonne.

According to The Financial Post, it is anticipated global market supply and demand will stay in balance throughout 2019 and 2020. However, by 2021, there will be a gradual deficit in global inventories because of declining mine output levels and the paucity of immense projects – more than 200 copper mines in operation will end their production within the next 15 years.

For now, copper traders will look ahead to next month’s meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping for direction.

Copper’s gains were capped by a strengthening US dollar as the greenback soared 0.24% to 95.53. A stronger buck is bad for commodities pegged in dollars because it makes it more expensive for foreign investors to purchase.

In other metals markets, December gold futures surged $14.00, or 1.17%, to $1,205.70 an ounce. December silver futures rose $0.18, or 1.24%, to $14.68 an ounce. December platinum futures jumped $4.90, or 0.59%, to $832.80 an ounce. December palladium futures shed $11.30, or 1.1%, to $1,044.80 per ounce.

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