The copper market plummeted overnight to its lowest level since the middle of the downturn in the 2008, sparked apprehensions that the global economy is slowing down more evidently than many experts have predicted.
Last week’s drop was the sixth straight decline in copper prices and is presently trading at approximately $5,560 per ton, the prices are causing substantial hurt to many mining companies, whose stock responded to the copper crash by hitting a record low.
Just like oil, copper has had a profound effects on the world economy since it is fundamental to the manufacture of phone lines, cables, and other infrastructures. It is likewise essential to the several world economies; the global leader in copper production namely Chile, China, Peru, the U.S. and Australia.
The cooperative market was just the recent commodities to suffer from a sort of panic as oil prices have been cut half in just a few months.
Copper is also at the centre of a black market trade that has been dwindling from a level of $1 billion in just two years as an epidemic of copper thefts has overridden the country with thieves robbing warehouses and stripping telephone wires in order to sell the metal for profit.
The fears regarding the fall in copper is that the rout in crude-oil prices might actually spread to other commodities igniting concerns that the slowdown in the global economy might be much deeper than previously thought and not constrained itself to the energy market.
China, with an economy that has achieved relentlessly in the past couple of years is the world’s biggest user of copper which consumes roughly 40 % of the total supply. China’s imports of copper hit an all time high last year’s December.
The World Bank implicates that the disorderly slowdown in China would force it to reduce its predictions for global growth outside the U.S. and it further said that the slowdown in Chinese property and land sales will hinder the national and local governments from augmenting growth by investing in infrastructure. The World Bank further stated that the world economy would probably grow by only 3 % for 2015 down from an earlier estimate of 3.4 %.
Experts all agree that three to six months ago, there would have been no need to worry due to the various oversupply of commodities such as oil, iron ore, coal. But the blend of a greater supply with weaker demand is indicative that global slowdown is presently taking place.
Why is copper very essential in the first place? It is so important mainly because of its versatility in all sorts of building materials and historically its price movements were tracked for insights into the durable industrial activity. Copper is even regarded as a good indicator of economic health and has always been as such.
While there are currently several various concerns regarding the slowing global economy and whether the strength of the U.S. economy can endure the sluggishness elsewhere in the global market with the copper market itself has had its own problems for a while.
The problem is chiefly overpopulation and copper mining supplies are expanding at an exponential rate faster than demand and has been like that since 2013.
The demand for copper in China, the number one global user of copper is still predicted to grow by 4 % to 4.5 %, but the issue is that the previous expectations were marked for much greater growth.
There is much certainty over the part of Chinese traders, noting that most of last week’s price break happened during the Asian trading hours. During the said trading day, prices began to rise off the recorded lows.
What might have triggered last week’s plunge is that during the past few days, there were dwindling purchases by metal buyers which sent signals that maybe copper users wouldn’t be requiring much supply as previously thought.
Coupled with the weakness in oil, the trend of weakening copper prices and the general depression about the global economy there isn’t simple much reason to sell at all.
The trimming copper production amidst the lower value isn’t as simple as pressing the “off” button for miners in general. It basically takes a long time to stop and restart production correspondingly.
A good number of investors who purchase commodities do so through indexes which hold baskets of several commodities. A good number of these indexes are primarily dominated and their hefty losses from 2014 persisted to be seen into 2015.
Investors might see more shedding of these holdings which could result losses across commodities including copper and with oil acting all fanatical, investors who own these indexes are dumping everything. They are throwing copper away along with a wide based commodity.