LONDON (Reuters) – Typical, isn’t it? Copper bulls have been waiting all year for a strike and along come three potential Chilean flashpoints in the space of a week.
The main union at the Caserones mine is threatening to walk off the job on Tuesday if government mediation fails to generate a breakthrough in deadlocked talks.
Unions at Escondida have rejected an offer on a new labour contract, raising the prospect of another walk-out after last year’s 44-day strike at what is the world’s largest single copper mine. Meanwhile, workers at Chilean state copper producer Codelco’s Chuquicamata division staged protests last week in a long-simmering dispute over restructuring plans.
None of which helped the copper price, which closed Friday down on the week and has on Monday morning slipped further towards the $6,000 per tonne technical cliff-edge.
London Metal Exchange (LME) three-month metal was last trading around $6,100. Doctor Copper, it seems, is far more worried about the potential hit to demand resulting from the escalating trade dispute between the United States and China.