Copper hits record high amid broad-based surge in commodities – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – May 11, 2021)

The metal with a PhD in economics is on a tear as the economy recovers from the shocks caused by the pandemic.

Often seen as a bellwether for global growth because of its wide-scale industrial applications, “Dr. Copper” on Monday traded at a new record of US$4.90 a pound, after last week obliterating its previous 2011 high of US$4.50.

Used in everything from plumbing, to electricity, to alternative energy, the critical mineral’s price gains are being supported by a brisk snapback in Chinese demand, supply side jitters and accommodative monetary policy, which is motivating companies to ramp up spending and investment.

The current run in the commodity has a distinct sense of déjà vu. During the depths of the 2008 financial crisis, copper plummeted. But thanks largely to aggressive monetary easing by global central banks, its price more than doubled by 2011.

That rally not only swept copper to new highs, but a broad basket of industrial commodities. The same script is playing out right now.

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