Copper prices have fallen to their lowest level in 4 and-a-half years, a sign of investors’ skepticism about China’s efforts to kick-start its economy.
Economic growth in China, which consumes more than 40% of the world’s copper, has slowed this year, falling to 7.3% in the third quarter. With copper’s wide use in manufactured goods and construction, investors are concerned that the slowdown will lead to less demand for the metal.
Beijing has taken action to support its economy, including easing credit conditions and changing the way it calculates gross domestic product, but copper investors aren’t impressed.
Dropping 0.4%, the cash price of Japanese copper was the biggest mover on Friday, December 26, closing at JPY 794,000 ($6,596) per metric ton. The price of US copper producer grade 110 remained essentially flat at $3.61 per pound. The price of US copper producer grade 102 saw little price change last Friday at $3.80 per pound. The price of US copper producer grade 122 held steady around $3.61 per pound.
Chinese copper prices were mixed for the day. Chinese copper wire ended the day at CNY 46,340 ($7,459) per metric ton, after the 0.1% drop last Friday. The price of Chinese copper bar showed little movement last Friday at CNY 47,160 ($7,591) per metric ton. The Chinese copper cash price saw little change in its price last Friday at CNY 47,360 ($7,623) per metric ton. The price of Chinese bright copper scrap held steady at CNY 40,400 ($6,503) per metric ton.
On the LME, the 3-month price of copper showed little movement last Friday, hovering around $6,319 per metric ton. The cash price of primary copper showed little movement last Friday on the LME at $6,360 per metric ton.