In what could possibly be another sign that China’s economy is slowing, copper supplies have increased 20% since July. Some stockpiles in Shanghai had reached the ceiling last month and the ground underneath them was cracking from the weight.
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China is copper’s biggest buyer. The sign that copper stores have built up could signal danger for the global economy. This would mean that copper stores are not likely to decrease any time soon.
Air conditioner makers and power grid builders usually cause copper supplies to dwindle over the summer. But not this year.
Those anticipating the slowdown foresee increasing inventories and lower prices. Those who see the glass half full say that the increased supplies mean that the Chinese government will be forced to take stimulus action.
That would be good for those who like copper as an investment. In fact, copper prices have outpaced those for aluminum and nickel since early June. Copper prices are up 7% since then.
Other analysts say the price rise will not be sustainable as long as inventories continue to rise. And China has continued importing copper until recently. Rather than being used, the copper has gone into storage.
Those who are bullish on the metal are counting on the Chinese government to support the country’s housing and power sectors. Analysts have forecast copper prices dipping
to as low as $7220 per ton, then increasing to $8000 per ton when the rally starts.
That rally may not happen as long as there are pictures to be made of copper sitting on ramps and dump sites overflowing with the stuff.
Investors in metals may wish to begin building positions slowly. If Europe does develop a bond-buying plan, China's government takes more stimulus action, and the US Fed follows suit, the global economy could stage a turnaround.