Silver Lining: Copper’s Low Price Is Leading to Less Theft, Fewer Blackouts

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Bronwyn Nortje of South Africa’s Business Day Live wrote this week that while high copper prices are often blamed for the scourge of cable theft, it stands to reason that the near 10% decline in the copper price since the start of the year — and a staggering 2.6% decline over this month — is lessening the incentive to risk life and limb in the pursuit of a few kilograms of the metal in the developing country.

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While there were load-shedding and network-related power outages across the city of Johannesburg last week none of them had to do with the most common cause: cable theft.

Closing at CNY 49,640 ($7,970) per metric ton on the Thursday, June 12, Chinese copper bar rose 0.3 percent to finish as the day’s biggest mover. The Chinese copper cash price increased 0.3 percent to CNY 49,840 ($8,002) per metric ton. The price of Chinese copper wire showed little movement on Thursday at CNY 48,650 ($7,811) per metric ton. The price of Chinese bright copper scrap continues hovering around CNY 44,300 ($7,112) per metric ton for the fifth day in a row.

Following a 0.3 percent rise yesterday, the cash price of primary Japanese copper closed at JPY 716,000 ($7,019) per metric ton. After two changeless days, the price of US copper producer grade 110 fell 0.3 percent to $3.74 per pound. The price of US copper producer grade 102 closed Thursday at $3.93 per pound, halting its two-day flat run with a 0.3 percent decline. The price of US copper producer grade 122 showed little movement on Thursday at $3.74 per pound.

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On the LME, the 3-month price of copper fell 0.2 percent to $6,656 per metric ton. The primary copper cash price steadied at $6,689 per metric ton following two-days of increases on the LME.

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