Copper hits $10,000 per tonne as analysts point to further gains

The copper price exceeded US$10,000 per tonne yesterday for the first time since 2011, as recovering economies turn to the ‘bellwether metal’ and mines struggle to keep up with rising demand.

Prices rose as much as 1.3% to $10,008 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange – putting copper in sight of its all-time high of $10,190 in February 2011 – before slipping back to trade near unchanged.

“The copper price has gone stratospheric and probably has further to go, which is a boon for miners who are currently making at least two dollars for every one they spend getting metal out of the ground,” said Analyst at CRU Group Robert Edwards.

Since the end of the first COVID-19 wave last year, the copper price has more than doubled on the way to its current near-record value, based on increased demand from post-pandemic economic stimulus and a broad long-term belief in the global decarbonisation trend, in which copper will play a crucial role.

“This is a remarkable run for copper in terms of magnitude and consistency,” commented Tai Wong, head of metals derivatives trading at BMO Capital Markets.

Meanwhile, senior commodities strategist at ING Bank Wenyu Yao pointed to further price increases: “The outlook for the US economy keeps getting better. Economic reopening coupled with massive stimulus, faster-than-expected vaccine rollouts and supportive fundamentals all point to even higher prices.”