Extremely Tight Market Could Push Copper Prices To Record Highs


By Tsvetana Paraskova of OilPrice.com

Retail and professional investors expect copper to be the top-performing commodity this year, outperforming gold, corn, and crude oil, according to Bloomberg’s MLIV Pulse survey published on Monday.

A total of 45% of retail investors and 36% of professional investors see copper as the best-performing commodity asset this year, compared to 26% of professional and 21% of retail investors who picked crude oil as most likely to be the top commodity performer in 2023. 

Copper prices have strongly rebounded in recent weeks, thanks to the reopening in China, which is expected to spur additional demand, and to the long-term bullishness of the market for metals necessary for the energy transition.

Copper prices are set for a new record-high in 2023 amid an “extremely” tight market, Goldman Sachs said last month.

“The sequential increase in policy targets and commitments to green transition, alongside a minimal supply response so far… have resulted in earlier and larger open-ended deficit conditions that essentially are already here, not beginning at some point in the future,” Nicholas Snowdon, metals strategist at Goldman Sachs, said in December, as carried by Financial Review.

Moreover, mining and commodities giant Glencore said in an investor update last month that a huge shortage of copper is looming, reiterating warnings from other industry players and analysts that a supply crunch could slow the energy transition.

According to Glencore’s estimates, under the net-zero emissions pathway of the International Energy Agency (IEA), the world will be more than 50 million tons short of copper between 2022 and 2030.

“But increasing mine supply is challenging given heightened country and operational risks and the industry remains wary of multi-billion dollar investment decisions,” Glencore said.

In the latest reporting week to January 17, copper, one of the best-performing commodities this month, attracted more bullish positions, and the net long position—the difference between bullish and bearish bets—jumped to a nine-month high, Ole Hansen, Head of Commodity Strategy at Saxo Bank, said on Monday.

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