The decline in the copper price accelerated on Wednesday as pandemic fears grip global markets and mining companies announce a raft of production halts and project construction suspensions.
Copper trading in New York fell by 8.8% to $2.111 a pound ($4,650 a tonne), the weakest level since early October 2016. The copper price is now down 27% from its 2020 high, struck near the end of January.
Across South America, where the bulk of the world’s copper is produced, countries including Argentina, Peru and Chile have closed borders or imposed restrictions to contain the outbreak on the continent.
Copper mining stocks declined sharply, led by top US producer Freeport-McMoRan which fell by 24.7% after the company said it’s suspending operations at its Cerro Verde mine in Peru for at least 15 days.
Shares in Freeport are down 59% over the past year. Freeport owns 53.6% of Cerro Verde and operates one of the world’s largest concentrating facilities near Arequipa, Peru.
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