Today in MetalCrawler, lawmakers try to find a way forward for President Obama’s trade bill and copper hit a significant low.
Trade Bill in the Balance
144 Democrats abandoned President Obama last week on the Trade Promotion Authority. What’s holding up the President’s massive free trade initiative is a job training and aid program known as trade adjustment assistance (TAA).
Party leaders in both houses of Congress are in touch with the White House in an attempt to figure out how to advance TAA but both parties seem to have dug in with democrats opposing TAA and republicans insisting that the opposition must vote on the existing bill again.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, speaking to reporters Monday, said, “The best option right now” is for “the Democrats [to] come to their senses” and back TAA.
Democrats responded that it’s up to Republicans to figure out how to proceed.
“The point is, Republicans have to decide how they can go [forward], then we’ll have to make some response to that. Right now, they haven’t done that,” Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told Politico.
Democrats have suggested adding TAA to a vote on a non-controversial customs bill that the GOP-led House passed last week, but McCarthy and Speaker John Boehner have resisted re-opening the customs bill or adding TAA to another bill.
Copper Falls as Confidence in Metals Erodes
Copper fell to a three-month low on concern that a cooling economy in China and Greece’s debt turmoil will stymie global growth, cutting demand for raw materials.
Investors this month pulled $37.6 million from U.S. exchange-traded funds backed by industrial metals, a 10 percent drop that is the biggest of any commodity group, data compiled by Bloomberg showed. Money managers have turned net-bearish on copper for the first time since February, US government data showed.
Copper futures for September delivery lost 1.2% to $2.619 a pound at 11:34 AM on the Comex in New York, falling for the third time in four sessions. Prices reached $2.618, the lowest since March 19.
Chinese power-grid investments, which make up more than half of copper demand, are down about 10% this year, according to Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd.
On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months slid 0.9% to $5,763.50 a metric ton ($2.62 a pound). Aluminum, zinc, nickel, lead and tin also fell on the LME.