Demand for copper and other industrial metals is outstripping supply, as industrial output by the emerging markets economies surges ahead of their pre-recession levels. China’s unrelenting demand being an important factor.
Global copper inventories are down by about a third this year, and traders say that with supplies so tight, the risk is that prices could rise more rapidly if the recovery gathers pace. The major exception to this trend is China, which is sitting on a large stockpile that it built up during 2009, but is expected to be used up during the coming months. Prices in dollars have also been supported by the relative weakness of the US currency, compared with the euro and particularly the Chinese yuan.
Copper prices record high $9,660 a tonne on the London Metal Exchange and near all-time peak of $4.44520 per lb on New York’s COMEX market.