Copper prices hit a three-year high on Monday, breaking the $7,000-per-tonne mark. The metal is on track for its biggest annual gain since 2010.
Copper prices hit a fresh three-year high on Monday (October 16), breaking the $7,000-per-tonne mark on positive Chinese economic data.
LME copper reached $7,083.50 early in the day as improved manufacturing profits in China signaled robust economic growth in the Asian country. The red metal closed up in London at $7,134, and is now on track for its biggest annual gain since 2010.
A construction boom in the country “shows no signs of abating,” according to Reuters, and last month Chinese copper imports surged, fueling optimism about demand. Meanwhile, the Chinese government’s crackdown on air pollution has stoked worries about a copper shortage this winter.
“Based on these quite solid fundamentals, people will react very positively to any newsflow on copper,” Analyst Helen Lau of broker Argonaut Securities told the news outlet.
China’s economy is expected to grow by 7 percent in the second half of this year, the country’s central bank governor has said. Despite that prediction, many analysts are not as bullish on copper demand from the Asian country in the months ahead.
“[The] general consensus is that Chinese demand growth will taper in Q4, in part reflecting anticipated property market moderation over the coming months,” Cormark Securities analyst Stefan Ioannou recently told the Investing News Network.
Similarly, Dan Smith, head of commodities research at Oxford Economics, believes Chinese copper demand will be quite weak in Q4. He is more positive about medium-term demand from the country.
Where are prices going?
Copper prices have been surging since the beginning of the year, and are up more than 28 percent year-to-date. In fact, just this month prices have increased by more than 10 percent.
“The price increase itself has ignited also yet another price rally based on expectations for higher prices,” said Eugen Weinberg of Commerzbank, adding that prices could pull back soon.
“It’s very difficult to time overheated situations such as these but we definitely expect prices to come back before another increase. The price is very speculatively driven in our opinion,” he noted.
Analysts polled recently by FocusEconomics estimate that the average copper price for Q4 2017 will be $6,111. The most bullish forecast for the quarter comes from ANZ (ASX:ANZ), which is calling for a price of $6,800; meanwhile, Unicredit is the most bearish with a forecast of $5,200.
For investors interested in copper, the Investing News Network recently put together a list of the best copper stocks on the TSX and the TSXV. And don’t forget to check out our copper price update for Q3, which includes an overview of the factors impacting market and what’s ahead for the rest of the year.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.