Copper futures trading on the Comex market in New York raced ahead on Wednesday as global supply disruptions came back into view and large-scale speculators place huge bets on rising prices.
In massive volumes of more than 3 billion pounds by lunchtime copper for delivery in September jumped to a high of 2.9795 a pound ($6,569 per tonne), up more than 3% from Tuesday’s close to the highest since end-November 2014.
Copper’s 2017 year to date gains in percentage terms now top 18% and the red metal has recovered 54% in value after falling to six-year lows below $2.00 a pound in January last year.
On the copper derivatives market hedge funds built long positions – bets on higher prices in future – to a new record high last week according to the CFTC’s weekly Commitment of Traders data. So-called managed money investors’ net longs now total over 112,000 lots, the equivalent of 2.8 billion pounds or nearly 1.3m tonnes worth around $8.3 billion at today’s prices.
It shatters the previous peaks achieved mid-2014 when the copper price was above $3.20 a pound and represents the equivalent of $11.8 billion swing from 2016 second quarter net short position (bets that copper can be bought back cheaper in future) of 1.2 billion tonnes.
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