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Copper Surges Amid Robust Manufacturing Data

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  • Copper price surges above $9,000 per ton
  • Global copper demand is expected to rise
  • Supply shortages support prices

The global copper market is expected to experience steady growth in the coming years. The growth is primarily attributed to the increasing copper demand across various industries, such as construction, electrical engineering, electronics, and automotive. The construction industry is anticipated to be the main contributor to the growth of the copper market, fuelled by the rising demand for copper in building and infrastructure developments.

The surge in demand for copper is expected to be driven by the growth of the burgeoning renewable energy sector, particularly within solar and wind energy. The utilisation of copper in the fabrication of solar panels, wind turbines, and other renewable energy components is projected to underpin the demand for copper in the years ahead.

Copper has emerged as the leading commodity, given its crucial role across all aspects of the current energy transition. The anticipated surge in copper consumption for decarbonisation purposes is forecasted to rise substantially, driven by battery grid storage, electric vehicles and charging, and power generation.

Copper hits a 14-month high amid strong factory data from China

The recent rally in copper prices has captured the attention of global markets, with the metal surging back above the $9,000 per ton. Key drivers of this rally include optimistic factory data from China, the world’s largest consumer of copper, and speculations regarding output cuts by major smelters.

In March, China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) registered its highest reading in a year, raising optimism about China’s economic activity, which is a key consumer and producer of copper. This positive sentiment was further bolstered by strong exports and rising consumer prices, painting a promising picture for the manufacturing industry and raw material consumption.

US Manufacturing Resurgence

In addition to China’s improvement in economic conditions, the United States witnessed a turnaround in its manufacturing sector in March. After a 16-month decline, the U.S. production rose sharply and new orders increased, halting its prior downward trajectory. This signals a potential rebound in production activity. While these developments are optimistic, prices paid by manufacturers increased, raising concerns in regard to inflation and the Federal Reserve’s stance on interest rates.

Tightened Global Copper Market

The Cobre Panama project, one of the world’s largest open-pit copper mines, was shut down last year, cutting approximately 1.7% of global supply which tipped the copper market into deficit this year. This combined with more key copper miners lowering their outlooks have added to supply concerns. With not much supply coming for the rest of the decade, material shortages are likely.

Additionally, recent reports showed that the biggest Chinese copper smelters are considering cutting output between 5% to 10% of overall production. Such decision was triggered because of production disruptions in major global copper mines which cut supplies of copper ore. The shortages of raw material drove processing fees for converting concentrate into refined metal to near zero.

The proposed cutting production by the largest Chinese smelters highlights the challenges they face, despite uncertainties whether the cuts would be implemented or not. Lower production of refined copper is also expected to tighten global copper supplies, which in turn could lead to higher copper prices.

A graph of stock market

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Source: TradingView

Technical analysis

Copper prices have been trading sideways over the past nine months, fluctuating in a wide range between $7,841 and $9,445. The current rally is approaching the upper boundary of the range, where initial selling pressure could arise. Given the latest improvement in momentum conditions, a subsequent breakout is very likely to follow. Once key resistance of $9,445 is cleared a strong impulsive rally could unfold over the medium-term. The potential upside price target is in the range between $10,400 and $10,800.

Conclusion

Copper surged to its highest levels in over a year, triggered by renewed optimism about global economic growth and expectations of interest rate cuts from the major central banks around the world. This surge reflects growing confidence among investors that the downturn in manufacturing, including China, may have passed its worst.

Professional investors looking for exposure to copper may consider Leverage Shares Copper ETCs which track the performance of the most liquid copper futures traded on COMEX.

Websim is the retail division of Intermonte, the primary intermediary of the Italian stock exchange for institutional investors. Leverage Shares often features in its speculative analysis based on macros/fundamentals. However, the information is published in Italian. To provide better information for our non-Italian investors, we bring to you a quick translation of the analysis they present to Italian retail investors. To ensure rapid delivery, text in the charts will not be translated. The views expressed here are of Websim. Leverage Shares in no way endorses these views. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment, please seek financial advice. View the original at

Your capital is at risk if you invest. You could lose all your investment. Please see the full risk warning here.

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