Copper prices hit highest level since 2011

Copper reached its highest level in a decade on Monday, as concerns over supply disruptions and strong demand from market lift expectations of a tight market.

The key energy transition metal was trading up 1% on the London Metal Exchange early on 26 April at $9,650 per tonne, compared to $9,545.50/t on Friday, 23 April. The price is the highest level since 29 July, 2011, when copper traded at $9,730/t on the LME, Kallanish reports.

According to Goldman Sachs, the commodity is on track to surge to $15,000/t by 2025, as demand is forecast to grow nearly 600% by 2030. The analysts estimate demand to reach 1.22 million t this year, growing to 2.56m t in 2025 and 5.39m t in 2030. With the surge in projected demand comes the supply deficit and need for higher prices, which in turn should unlock new investment.

Jefferies’ analysts believe that “supply risks are escalating and the copper price is about to break out of its recent trading range.” They note there’s value elsewhere in the commodities, “but copper is still best.”

Supply concerns have been raising out of Chile, the world’s No.1 copper exporter. First the potential impact of the pandemic on production and exports, and now the risk of a nation-wide strike at ports.

With over 8,000 members across 25 port terminals in the country, the Chilean Port Union had scheduled a strike on all the terminals on Monday to pressure the government to enhance financial support for the population. It announced on Sunday the total stoppage of all 25 terminals, which would halt copper exports and affect inventories.

Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera announced late on Sunday it was passing a bill to Congress to allow workers an early withdrawal of 10% of their pensions funds, as opposed to blocking the bill.