Copper Prices Are About to Go on Steroids, Citi Says (Bloomberg News – July 18, 2018)

Copper’s slump amid a deepening global trade conflict offers a long-term buying opportunity, according to Citigroup Inc., which shrugged off fears for world growth to boost its long-term forecasts.

“Prepare for a decade of Dr. Copper on steroids,” analysts including Max Layton and Tracy Liao wrote in a July 17 note. The bank sees average annual prices at $8,000 a metric ton in 2022, passing $9,000 a ton by 2028 under its baseline scenario.

The metal, often viewed as a barometer of world economic health, closed Tuesday at $6,152 a ton in London. Copper has spiraled lower in the past six weeks as President Donald Trump upends global trade with disputes involving multiple nations, most critically with No. 2 economy China.

But, in the longer term, Citigroup said prices have to rise because the metal is getting much more difficult and more expensive to mine.

“We look beyond the potential trade war to longer-term copper market fundamentals and we find that current prices of $6,200 a ton are nowhere near high enough to enable the market to clear,” the analysts said. “Copper is set to outperform most other commodities under our coverage over the coming decade on a lack of mine supply growth.”

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