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Copper Slips on Falling Demand, Inventory Build

July 4, 2019 at 18:06 by Andrew Moran

Copper futures are slipping toward the end of the trading week, driven by weak demand and a buildup in inventories. But renewed US-China trade negotiations have capped losses, leading investors to hope that a new trade deal could stimulate the world’s two largest economies, which would increase demand for the industrial metal.

August copper futures dipped $0.005, or 0.23%, to $2.67 per pound at 17:51 GMT on Thursday on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The red metal is on track for a weekly decline of roughly 1%, but it is still in positive territory by 1.3% on the year.

According to the London Metal Exchange (LME), copper stockpiles advanced 14% in one day to a one-year high of 272,500 tonnes. This put pressure on copper prices because global demand projections have not improved in recent months.

For instance, China, the world’s biggest copper consumer, reported that air conditioning output is likely to slump in July to the lowest level in years. Moreover, sectors that rely heavily on copper, including construction, manufacturing, and energy, will only record stable growth.

Chinese manufacturers represent half of global consumption and American firms account for 10%. With manufacturing purchasing managers’ indexes (PMI) worldwide showing cooling activity, the demand for copper is not anticipated to get any better anytime soon.

Overall, the international copper market is getting tighter, which was evident in the discount between LME cash and three-month contracts that declined to a two-month low.

The industrial metal’s losses were capped on news that US and Chinese officials are planning to meet next week to restart trade talks. The White House confirmed representatives will aim to resolve the trade war that has plagued industries, hurt global growth, and put a damper on demand for metals.

The US dollar traded sideways on the Fourth of July holiday, dipping 0.02% to 96.75. A weaker buck is good for dollar-denominated commodities because it makes it cheaper for foreign investors to purchase.

In other metal markets, September gold futures tumbled $2.90, or 0.2%, to $1,418.00 per ounce. August silver futures shed $0.02, or 0.14%, to $15.315 an ounce. September platinum futures decreased $4.60, or 0.55%, to $839.00 an ounce. September palladium futures declined $7.90, or 0.5%, to $1,557.90 per ounce.

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