Copper Collapses As China Prepares To Dump Surplus Metal In A Repeat Of Its Steel Export Flood – by Tim Treadgold (Forbes Magazine – April 8, 2016)

Dr Copper is ill, again.

The metal which acts as a barometer of global industrial production thanks to its use in everything from household appliances to cars, power generation and construction has hit another speed bump on what was thought to be at the start of a long-term price recovery.

From a multi-year price low of around $1.97 a pound in late January copper rose by 16% to $2.30/lb on March 21. Since then it’s been one-way traffic with the price dipping to $2.11 and looking weak.

Whether copper, which earned its Dr Copper nickname because of its celebrated ability to reflect the underlying health of the economy, will re-test the $2/lb mark is a question worrying producers of the red metal.

Imports Become Exports

Front of mind in the copper industry are events in China, especially disturbing speculation that stockpiled copper, which had been imported to meet domestic demand in its manufacturing sector, might be re-loaded and shipped back into an already over-supplied market.

It’s the fear of China doing to copper what it’s doing to steel which has copper mining companies and copper refineries worried about a return to the days of the metal selling for less than $2lb.

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