Caterpillar Inc. Slumps, and Monthly Copper Price Trends Follow

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copper price

Perhaps the most disconcerting of the monthly index data involves copper – the Copper MMI® has officially moved into a three-month downward price trend by falling 4 points to 89.

today's metal prices - MetalMiner IndXThe copper complex pretty much fell across the board due to falling copper scrap prices, wire and primary cash prices in China, to 3-month LME copper prices off $500/ton from a month ago. Only Japanese primary cash copper prices and Korean copper strip posted gains, the first likely due to Japanese currency intervention largely to devalue the yen.

“Whenever we see copper prices dip – they reached a 22-month low in April – other factors tend to kick in, which tend to provide copper price support; scrap trading and China coming into the market to buy at the lows,” said Lisa Reisman, managing editor of MetalMiner.

See how this MMI reading compares with last month – download the FREE Monthly MMI® Report here.

“Scrap sellers stop selling, causing smelters to stop refining, while Chinese buyers come into the market, and that ends up lifting prices,” Reisman said. June numbers will either break or define the three-month copper price trend (copper prices have fallen over the past two months).

But make no mistake about it: Caterpillar, a leading industrial bellwether, has reported less-than-stellar results for their first quarter. Mining appears to be in a slump and mining leads manufacturing, so the copper price trend remains the one to watch.

Key Price Drivers

After falling 7.8 percent, Chinese bright copper scrap finished the month down. On the LME, the primary copper cash price closed the month at $7,073 per metric ton after dropping 6.7 percent. Following a 6.7 percent decline, the copper 3-month price reached $7,105 per metric ton on the LME.

The price of US copper producer grade 110 fell 4.5 percent over the past month. The price of US copper producer grade 102 declined 4.3 percent over the month. A 3.9 percent decline for Chinese copper wire left the price down. A 3.2 percent decline for the cash price of Chinese copper left it lower.

today's metal prices - MetalMiner IndXKorean copper strip remained unchanged.

Download last month’s FREE Monthly MMI® Report here.

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.