Column: Funds are starting to turn more bullish on copper – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – November 11, 2019)

LONDON (Reuters) – Whisper it softly, but there are the very first signs that funds are turning more friendly to Doctor Copper. London Metal Exchange (LME) copper has been locked into a sideways trading pattern since the middle of the year with robust internal dynamics swamped by the broader, negative macro story.

Concerns about China’s manufacturing slowdown and the Sino-U.S. trade dispute have manifest themselves in a big fund short position on the CME copper contract since June. That big short, however, has shrunk a lot over the last couple of weeks as the prospect of some sort of trade deal becomes more credible.

London copper, meanwhile, has seen a flurry of interest in the options market with buyers looking for upside exposure next year. This is still a tentative turnaround but it seems as if the money men are starting to look beyond the copper-negative Trump tariffs trade.

Money managers held a net short position of 17,838 contracts on the CME copper market as of the most recent Commitments of Traders Report. One month ago, that collective short position was 62,741 contracts and three months ago it was 74,597 contracts, an all-time record in terms of bear positioning.

Both parts of the positioning equation have changed dramatically over the last couple of months. Outright shorts have been sharply reduced from the twin peaks of 118,000 contracts in August and September to a current 79,673 contracts.

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