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Trading Giant Expects Copper Prices To Hit Record High

Copper prices are likely to hit a record high in the next 12 months, commodity trading major Trafigura has forecast, citing the rebound in China’s economy and short supply.

Global inventories of the basic metal, which is essential for wind and solar power installations and for EVs, among many other things, have shrunk to the lowest since 2008, the Financial Times noted in a report on the forecast. If demand from China continues to grow, the market could tip into a shortage, which will push prices much higher.

Over the past year or so copper has gained 30% but that’s just the start because the metal’s price fell sharply after Russia’s incursion into Ukraine last February, when traders assumed the energy crunch and sky-high prices would also affect demand for metals negatively.

Currently, copper is trading at $9,000 per ton but, according to Trafigura’s co-head of metals and minerals Kostas Bintas, it could rise to its previous record of $10,845 per ton and even top it to trade at $12,000 per ton.

“I think it’s very likely in the next 12 months that we will see a new high,” Bintas said at the FT Commodity Global Summit. “What’s the price of something the whole world needs but we don’t have any of?”

Goldman Sachs shares the bullish view. The investment bank recently wrote it expected a commodity supercycle, to be triggered by China’s post-pandemic recovery.

"On copper, the forward outlook is extraordinarily positive. We'll be at the lowest observable inventories that have ever been recorded at 125,000 tonnes. We have peak supply occurring in 2024...Near term we put (the copper price) at $10,500 and longer term our price target is $15,000 a tonne," the head of commodities at Goldman, Jeffrey Currie, said.

Such an outlook for copper would very likely hamper energy transition efforts already made more challenging due to higher production and capital costs.


By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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