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Copper Soars 1% As Investors Brace for Global Supply Deficit

April 8, 2019 at 13:59 by Andrew Moran

Copper futures are surging as much as 1% to kick off the trading week. The industrial metal has been on a tear for much of 2019, posting double-digit gains since the beginning of the year. With investors bracing a global supply deficit by next year, could the red metal inch closer to its record high of $4.58? Copper producers can only hope they can add on to their string of advances.

May copper futures rose $0.0335, or 1.16%, to $2.928 per pound at 13:08 GMT on Monday on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Copper prices posted a tepid weekly gain of just 0.02%, but they are up more than 10.5% year-to-date.

This week, global copper players will meet in Chile to discuss industry developments, trends, and news. It is widely expected that the conference will concentrate on declining ore quality, project delays, the US-China trade war, long-term demand, and the growth of electric vehicles.

Analysts anticipate there will be an upbeat attitude at the annual meeting this year, mainly because copper companies are expecting a global supply deficit in the next year, which would drive up prices. Research houses are projecting a 300,000-tonne shortfall over the next three years. As the demand for copper intensifies, particularly from the electric vehicle industry, prices will find support – the consensus is about $3.30 per pound by 2023.

At the same time, however, the deficit may not last long because the major firms are beginning to invest in new projects across the US. First Quantum Minerals, for instance, will spend more than $300 million to expand a copper mine to boost its annual production by 375,000 tonnes within five years. Even markets that are not normally associated with the red metal are making a play. Panama is seeing its mining sector start new mines and invest a lot of money.

In other industry news, the Tewoo Group, a commodity trading firm owned by the local Tianjin government, is selling copper at below-market rates. Amid a liquidity crunch, Tewoo offloaded about 50,000 tonnes of refined copper, or roughly 10% of the nation’s total bonded inventory, at a premium of $10, compared to the recent average of $54.

In other metal commodities, June gold futures soared $10.80, or 0.83%, to $1,306.40 per ounce. May silver futures rallied $0.16, or 1.06%, to $15.245 an ounce. May platinum futures spiked $13.60, or 1.5%, to $919.00 per ounce. May palladium futures shed $3.30, or 0.25%, to $1,342.60 an ounce.

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