Freeport Still Bullish on Copper, Despite 30-Day Low Closes for Chinese Copper Bar

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Chinese copper bar moved up 2.2 percent on Tuesday, the day’s biggest change. Just off of a 30-day low, the cash price of Chinese copper rose 2.2 percent yesterday. After hitting a 30-day low on Friday, March 14, the price of Chinese copper wire rose 2 percent yesterday. The price of Chinese bright copper scrap was unchanged.

A Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc executive said on Wednesday China’s copper consumption will grow for “more than a decade” as demand from the world’s top user remains robust despite fears of a Chinese economic slowdown. The long-term outlook remained solid, said Freeport’s Javier Targhetta, senior vice president for marketing and sales for Freeport.

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“We are seeing still robust consumption in China. Of course there can be hiccups here and there,” Targhetta told Reuters on the sidelines of an industry conference. “I think Chinese consumption of copper will keep growing for more than a decade.”

Freeport, which operates the world’s fifth largest copper mine in Indonesia, halted copper concentrate exports in mid-January over a dispute with the Indonesian government on a new tax.

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The Japanese copper cash price fell 1.9 percent. The price of US copper producer grade 122 weakened by 0.3 percent, settling at $3.70 per pound. The price of US copper producer grade 110 saw a 0.3 percent decline to $3.70 per pound. The price of US copper producer grade 102 declined 0.3 percent to $3.89 per pound.

Today marks the fifth day in a row of increases for the 3-month price of copper. After climbing 0.1 percent on the LME, prices settled at $6,466 per metric ton, driving an accelerated improvement since Wednesday, March 12. Also on the LME, the cash price of primary copper saw little movement yesterday at $6,490 per metric ton.