Gold warm, but copper is hot

ANALYSTS are warming up to copper as the price continues to rise.
Gold warm, but copper is hot Gold warm, but copper is hot Gold warm, but copper is hot Gold warm, but copper is hot Gold warm, but copper is hot

Craig Lang

Copper bottomed in March at $4625 per tonne, or just $2.09 per pound, but has staged a comeback since then.
It started this month at $5352/t, or $2.42/lb, and closed at $5892/t, or $2.67/lb on Wednesday last week, a four month high.
It came off slightly overnight, closing at $5856.50/t, or $2.65/lb on Thursday last week.
CRU principal analyst Craig Lang told this week's Copper to the World online event that China had recovered more quickly from the pandemic than expected.
In May, CRU forecast Chinese refined copper demand to fall 5% in 2020, and the rest of the world by 6%.
The latest forecast remains for a 6% drop from the world ex-China, but a 2% fall for China. Lang said there was some upside to those forecasts for China.
"As each day goes by, each week, it seems China's recovery is going even better than those forecasts," he said.
Copper consumption is expected to fall by 4% this year, but rebound by 4.4% in 2021.
CRU is forecasting a surplus of 400,000 tonnes of copper this year, reducing to 180,000t in 2021, 170,000t in 2022 and 118,000t in 2023.
"They're not particularly huge surpluses but they will weigh on prices in the near-term," Lang said.
This week, investment banks Jefferies and Bank of America have upgraded forecasts for copper.
Jefferies said fundamentals were improving, as global copper inventories had been steadily declining over the past two months.
"Inventories on the Shanghai Exchange have declined 71% since peaking in March while inventories on the LME have fallen by 16% over the past month," it said. 
"Demand in the US and Europe should recover as lockdowns are (hopefully) lifted, and Chinese demand should continue to improve due to stimulus measures. 
"Further fiscal stimulus, especially in the US (an infrastructure bill?), would be incrementally positive for copper as well. Meanwhile, supply constraints are significant and structural as mines are depleting and the industry's project pipeline is relatively thin."
CRU expects no new projects to be built if the price remains below $6000/t, if it expects. Its 2020 forecast is for the price to average $5313/t ($2.41/lb), dropping to $5247/t ($2.38/lb) next year.
Jefferies is more optimistic, seeing an average price of $2.85/lb next year, $3/lb in 2022, $3.25/lb in 2023 and peaking at $3.50/lb in 2024.
Even then, it admitted the forecasts were still conservative given cyclical and secular demand drivers.
"Our long term price forecast of $3/lb is also conservative as the incentive price to build new mines is at least $3.35/lb, based on our estimates," it said. 
According to Bank of America, copper is poised to rally to a new two-year high of $2.95/lb by year end.
Bank of America analysts said a spike in M1 and M2 money supply metrics indicated a recovery was on the way, with copper prices set to rise as a result.
"In our view, that official spending has an immediate impact on economic activity, it should ultimately help to kick-start economies," analysts said. 
"As such, while a host of risks persist, including a second wave of infections, we remain constructive [on] copper into year-end and see scope for the red metal to rise to $6500/t."