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Copper Rises 1% Amid Weaker US Dollar, Fund Bullishness

January 12, 2021 at 17:43 by Andrew Moran

Copper futures topped the $3.60 threshold on Tuesday as the industrial metal found additional support from institutional investors and funds. After a little bit of profit-taking, investors are beginning to make fresh bets to start 2021, anticipating the red metal to outperform gold this year.

March copper futures advanced $0.0495, or 1.39%, to $3.614 per pound at 16:13 GMT on Tuesday on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Copper has continued the momentum from last year, rising nearly 3% after more than a week in 2021.

Copper’s meteoric ascent since the height of the market meltdown nearly a year ago has benefited from soaring short-term fundamentals, including China’s incredible buying spree and institutional funds anticipating a commodities-driven global economic recovery.

Despite the bullish investments, the large funds have engaged in some profit-taking, slightly cutting their long-term positions from December to January.

Citing Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data, Reuters reported:

Money managers were net long on COMEX to the tune of 80,768 contracts as of Jan. 5, down from 90,434 in the middle of December but still high by any historical yardstick.

Speculative positioning in the London market has followed the same pattern. Investment funds shaved their collective net long from 43,835 contracts in the middle of December to 36,669 in the first week of January.

Market observers are concerned that copper’s latest strength depends on the performance of the broader financial market. Goldman Sachs stated in a recent research note that the boom in equity valuations and bond markets indicating limited upside, “investors have expressed concerns around a consolidation pullback in financial markets.”

But could there be a larger correction in the copper market? There have been rumblings of lower demand in China after the world’s largest consumer purchasing record amounts last year, restocking inventory levels. Plus, many copper producers are raising output this year, including Central Asia Metals, thanks to its impressive balance sheet and debt repayments.

Copper prices benefited from a weaker greenback as the US Dollar Index, which measures the buck against a basket of currencies, tumbled 0.12% to 90.36, from an opening of 90.52. A lower buck is good for dollar-pegged commodities because it makes it cheaper for foreign investors to purchase. Financial markets had been bearish on the DXY heading into 2021, but the greenback has risen more than 1% over the last week.

In other metal markets, February gold futures shed $11.00, or 0.5943%, to $1,839.80 per ounce. March silver futures picked up $0.051, or 0.2%, to $25.335 per ounce. March platinum futures tacked on $20.40, or 1.95%, to $1,065.00 an ounce. March palladium futures slid $4.30, or 0.18%, to $2,374.50 an ounce.

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