The monthly Copper MMI® registered a value of 66 in September, a decrease of 1.5% from 67 in August.
The declines, however, were steeper this year. Investors particularly dislike copper, as worries about China’s economy are rising.
China’s stock market crash and the devaluation of its currency are just aggravating copper’s bear market.
Weak demand in the face of a glut of metal keeps driving prices down. China is producing more copper and importing less, weighing on an already oversupplied market. China’s copper imports fell more than 10% this year to date, while its copper production rose 9%.
Manufacturing Demand Plummets
On top of that, China’s manufacturing PMI fell to a more than 6-year low of 47.1 in August. Construction and manufacturing numbers keep giving investors reasons to remain bearish.
With prices at these low levels, according to external sources, 17% of copper mines are producing at a loss. While many producers are aggressively doing all they can to move down the cost curve, others are also cutting production. Glencore PLC recently revealed plans to suspend production at two African mines. That will cut its copper output by nearly a fifth. These facilities will not operate for 18 months while the company builds lower production cost facilities to fight the current low prices.
Many are arguing that we are close to the bottom of the cycle with copper. However, it could be some time before the demand picture changes or enough capacity is closed to impact prices. As copper has taught us over the past few years, better to wait for the facts than be too early calling for bottom.
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