Copper earns the dubious distinction of “most volatile metal” for 2012.
And this comes as no surprise.
MetalMiner’s monthly Copper MMI® registered a value of 97 in January, on par with December’s value.
As MetalMiner editor Stuart Burns pointed out in a recent article examining the copper market, “The price has been held up by the supply market slipping into and out of deficit, unlike other industrial metals which are firmly in surplus.”
But as Stuart explains, something seems amiss. “Chinese imports of copper have been strong this year in spite of rising stocks in China and slowing demand,” according to Stuart, leading some to believe the Chinese copper import market may have moved into bubble territory.
We can’t say for sure, but Caterpillar’s reading of the copper market appears consistent with copper market trends — the copper price has ended 2012 at nearly the same place where it started, despite double-digit volatility based on the supply/demand fundamentals and too much copper stock given slowing China demand (4.8% expected growth in 2013 vs. 7.8% in 2011).
Primary Price Drivers of Copper Index
Last month, Chinese bright copper scrap prices dropped by 0.6 percent to CNY 47,900 ($7,678) per metric ton.
Copper 3-month prices fell 0.5 percent on the LME to $7,914 per metric ton after rising 4.1 percent the previous month.
After rising 1.5 percent the previous month, Chinese copper wire prices dropped 0.5 percent to CNY 56,950 ($9,129) per metric ton. Dropping to CNY 58,250 ($9,337) per metric ton for the month, the cash price of Chinese copper took a 0.05 percent poke.
The cash price of primary Japanese copper experienced a sizable drop, falling 5 percent to end the month around JPY 640,000 ($7,389) per metric ton.
Korean copper strip rose 1.8 percent to KRW 11,300 ($10.62) per kilogram.
The Copper MMI® collects and weights 12 global copper metal price points to provide a unique view into copper price trends over a 30-day period. For more information on the Copper MMI®, how it’s calculated or how your company can use the index, please drop us a note at: info (at) agmetalminer (dot) com.