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Copper Price Update: Q3 2021 in Review

Here’s an overview of the main factors that impacted the copper market in Q3 2021, and what’s ahead for the rest of the year.
The post Copper Price Update: Q3 2021 in Review appeared first on Investing News Network.



Click here to read the previous copper price update. 

After reaching an all-time high of US$10,700 per tonne during the second quarter of the year, copper traded around the U$9,000 mark for most of Q3. 

Prices performed with volatility throughout the period, as labor negotiations shared center stage with the Evergrande  (HKEX:3333,OTC Pink:EGRNF) crisis in China.

With Q3 already in motion, the Investing News Network (INN) caught up with analysts, economists and experts alike to find out what’s ahead for copper supply, demand and prices.


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Copper price update: Q3 overview

In a year full of speculation as economies around the world reopen, the copper market saw prices break the US$10,000 mark — a price level many could not have predicted this time last year.

copper price chart

Chart via the London Metal Exchange.

Copper started the third quarter of the year at U$9,296.50 as prices corrected after the all-time high reached in May. The metal ended the period almost at the same level, trading at US$9,040.

After the highs seen in the second quarter, Dan Smith of Commodity Market Analytics said he was expecting prices to retreat. “We were looking for a 4 percent drop in copper prices in Q3, and the market pulled back by 4.5 percent as expected,” he said.

The red metal saw its highest level in Q3 on July 27, when it hit US$9,781. Copper then saw its biggest drop in the period almost a month later on August 19, when it was trading at US$8775.50.

For Karen Norton of Refinitiv, prices were due for a period of consolidation after the sharp run up to new record highs in the second quarter.

“While well supported below US$9,000, we believe a push higher would have proven difficult against the fundamental backdrop,” she added.

Copper price update: Supply and demand dynamics

Developments in copper supply and demand dynamics took an interesting turn in the third quarter. In China, the world’s top copper consumer, there was growing evidence of slowing demand.

“Additionally, the Evergrande debt crisis, which raised concerns of contagion in the country’s property sector, and the power squeeze, with worries that demand would be worse hit than supply, were some of the key factors to dominate,” Norton said.

Property giant Evergrande’s more than $300 billion debt crisis hit the markets back in September, as concerns over what it could mean for China’s construction industry hit base metals prices across the board. However, fears had eased by the end of the month.

“On top of that, there was caution about (US Federal Reserve) tapering, while on the other side of the equation were a number of supply concerns and actual disruptions that served to keep the market tighter than it might otherwise have been,” Norton added.

For Smith, there were two main factors weighing on copper prices in Q3. Firstly, mine supply growth started to accelerate and this resulted in a significant jump in treatment charges.

“These were up by 66 percent in Q3, a significant recovery from a very low level in Q2,” he said.

“Secondly, Chinese copper demand has started to slow, with electricity shortages and bottlenecks hampering output and high energy costs squeezing manufacturing margins.”


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Looking ahead, demand is looking resilient in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries heading into Q4, helped by easing lockdown measures as COVID-19 is fading as a driving force, Smith said.

“Supply chain disruptions are significant, but this is being offset by powerful tailwinds coming from low interest rates and fiscal stimulus measures. Consumers also have high levels of unspent savings.”

Meanwhile, China is set for a bumpy ride in Q4, according to Commodity Market Analytics.

“High levels of debt in the property market create a significant downside risk for copper demand, and property prices have stalled due to glut of unsold inventory,” Smith said. “Indicators for cement and steel suggest that the construction market is already in recession.”

Refinitiv is also expecting China’s copper demand to fall in Q4 compared to the same period last year, when levels were boosted by the post-COVID-19 recovery.

“Despite this softening picture, in construction specifically, the start of some infrastructure projects that previously had been delayed is expected to help underpin growth,” Norton said.

In terms of supply, output from South America’s powerhouses — Chile and Peru — is forecast to remain flat in the fourth quarter compared with the same period last year.

“It still looks set to be a year of above-trend growth for copper mine production, benefiting in part from the recovery from the impact of COVID,” Norton commented to INN. “But despite Peru’s bounce from the Q2 2020 sharp decline aside, much of the growth is coming from elsewhere, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is benefiting from the Kamoa-Kakula project, and Indonesia with the improvements at the Grasberg mine.”

A few labor contracts are expiring at some major mines in the fourth quarter, the largest being Codelco’s El Teniente mine — which produced 443,000 tonnes of copper in 2020.

“Developments will be watched closely in the present environment, but if the trend so far is anything to go by, labor disruptions will not make a significant dent in the overall supply picture,” Norton said.

Copper price update: What’s ahead?

Looking at how prices could perform in the last quarter, Smith said a wave of bullish sentiment swept through commodity markets in the first half of October, creating upside risks for copper.

“While we believe that fundamentals will remain mixed, speculators are likely to focus on more bullish elements, including falling inventory levels and higher input costs coming from rising energy costs,” he said. “Given this, we expect prices to trend higher in the months ahead.”

For her part, Norton said copper may seek to attempt an attack on the record highs before the year is out. “But we believe it will struggle with the fundamental backdrop becoming less supportive,” she said.

Commenting on what could impact the copper market going forward, Smith said central banks will soon start to tighten monetary policy by reducing quantitative easing and then raising interest rates.

“This has the potential to create a shock wave in financial markets, which could undermine copper as well,” he said. “If wage levels start to ratchet higher, then we should be battening down the hatches!”

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.


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“The Omicron Variant” – Magic Pills, Or Solving The Africa Problem?

"The Omicron Variant" – Magic Pills, Or Solving The Africa Problem?

Authored by Kit Knightly via,

Yesterday the WHO labelled the sars-cov-2 variant B.1.1.529 as a “variant of concern” and officially named it “Omicron”.




"The Omicron Variant" – Magic Pills, Or Solving The Africa Problem?

Authored by Kit Knightly via,

Yesterday the WHO labelled the sars-cov-2 variant B.1.1.529 as a “variant of concern” and officially named it “Omicron”.

This was as entirely predictable as it is completely meaningless. The “variants” are just tools to stretch the story out and keep people on their toes.

If you want to know exactly how the Omicron variant is going to affect the narrative, well The Guardian has done a handy “here’s all the bullshit we’re gonna sell you over the next couple of weeks” guide:

  • The Omicron variant is more transmissable, but they don’t know if it’s more dangerous yet (keeping their options open)

  • It originated in Africa, possible mutating in an “untreated AIDS patient” (sick people are breeding grounds for dangerous “mutations”)

  • “it has more than double the mutations of Delta…scientists anticipate that the virus will be more likely to infect – or reinfect – people who have immunity to earlier variants. (undermining natural immunity, selling more boosters, keeping the scarefest going)

  • “Scientists are concerned” that current vaccines may not be as effective against the new strain, they may need to be “tweaked” (get your boosters, and the new booster we haven’t invented yet)

  • “Scientists expect that recently approved antiviral drugs, such as Merck’s pill, will work as effectively against the new variant” (more on this later)

  • It’s already spreading around the world, and travel bans may be needed to prevent the need for another lockdown

We’re already seeing preparations for more “public health measures”, with the press breathlessly quoting “concerned” public health officials. We’re being told that a new lockdown won’t be necessary…as long as we remember to get boosted and wear masks and blah blah blah.

Generally speaking, it’s all fairly boilerplate scary nonsense. Although it is quite funny that the Biden administration has already put a bunch of African nations on a travel ban list, when Biden called Trump a racist for doing the same thing in 2020.


It’s interesting that the new variant has allegedly come from Africa, perhaps “mutating in the body of an AIDS patient”, since Africa has been the biggest hole in the Covid narrative for well over a year.

Africa is by far the poorest continent, it is densely populated, malnourishment and extreme poverty are endemic across many African nations, and it is home to more AIDS patients than the entire rest of the world combined. And yet, no Covid crisis.

This is a weak point in the story, and always has been.

Last Summer, the UK’s virus modeller-in-chief Neil Ferguson attempted to explain it by arguing that African nations have, on average, younger populations than the rest of the world, and Covid is only a threat to the elderly. But five minutes of common sense debunks that idea.

The reason Africa has a younger population, on average, is that – on average – they are much sicker.

There are diseases endemic to large parts of Africa that are all but wiped out in most of the Western world. Cholera, typhus, yellow fever, tuberculosis, malaria. Access to clean water, and healthcare are also much more limited.

And while it has been nailed into the public mind that being elderly is the biggest risk factor for Covid, that is inaccurate. In fact, the biggest risk factor for dying “of Covid” is, and always has been, already dying of something else.

The truth is that any REAL dangerous respiratory virus would have cut a bloody swath across the entire continent.

Instead, as recently as last week, we were getting articles about how Africa “escaped Covid”, and the continent’s low covid deaths with only 6% of people vaccinated is “mystifying” and “baffling” scientists.

Politically, African nations have shown themselves far less likely to buy into the “pandemic” narrative than their European, Asian or American counterparts. At least two “Covid denying” African presidents – Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi and John Magufuli of Tanzania – have died suddenly in the last year, and seen their successors immediately reverse their covid policies.

So maybe the Omicron Variant is a way of trying to fold Africa into the covid narrative that the other continents have already fully embraced. That will become clear as the story develops.

Of course, it’s also true that being “African” is media shorthand for being scary, relying on the deeply-seated xenophobia of Western audiences. See: “Africanized killer bees”.

But, either way, Africa is the long game. There’s a more obvious, and more cynical, short term agenda here.


Let’s go back to the Guardian’s “Omicron” bullet points, above:

  • Scientists are concerned by the number of mutations and the fact some of them have already been linked to an ability to evade existing [vaccine-created] immune protection.

  • Scientists expect that recently approved antiviral drugs, such as Merck’s pill, [will work effectively] against the new variant

The “new variant” is already being described as potentially resistant to the vaccines, but NOT the new anti-viral medications.

Pharmaceutical giants Merck and Pfizer are both working on “Covid pills”, which as recently as three days ago, were being hyped up in the press:

US may have a ‘game changer’ new Covid pill soon, but its success will hinge on rapid testing

In the US, an emergency use authorisation can only be issued if there is no effective medication or treatment already available, so the vaccines not being proof against Omicron would be vital to rushing the pills onto the US market, at least.

If Omicron is found to be “resistant to the vaccines”, but NOT the pills, that will give governments an excuse to rush through approving the pills on an EUA, just as they did with the vaccines.

So, you bet your ass that testing is gonna be “rapid”. Super rapid. Blink-and-you’ll-miss-it rapid. Rapid to the point you’re not even sure it definitely happened. And now they have an excuse.

Really, it’s all just more of the same.

A scare before the new year. An excuse to make people believe their Christmas could be in peril. An exercise in flexing their control muscles a bit, milking even more money out of the double-jabbed and boosted crowd, now newly terrified of the Omicron variant, and a nice holiday bump to Pfizer’s ever-inflating stock price.

At this point either you can see the pattern, or you can’t. You’re free of the fear machinery, or you’re not.

There is one potential silver lining here: It feels rushed and frantic. Discovered on Tuesday, named on Friday, travel bans on Saturday. It is hurried, and maybe that’s a reaction to feeling like the “pandemic” is losing its grip on the public mind.

Hopefully, as the narrative becomes more and more absurd, more and more people will wake up to reality.

It has been pointed out that “Omicron” is an anagram of “moronic”.

One wonders if that’s deliberate and they’re making fun of us.

Tyler Durden Sat, 11/27/2021 - 23:45

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Israel Moves To Ban All Foreigners From Entry Amid Omicron Variant Fears

Israel Moves To Ban All Foreigners From Entry Amid Omicron Variant Fears

Israel’s Knesset is set to hold a special emergency "coronavirus cabinet" late Saturday night where government officials will vote on enacting a complete closure of…



Israel Moves To Ban All Foreigners From Entry Amid Omicron Variant Fears

Israel's Knesset is set to hold a special emergency "coronavirus cabinet" late Saturday night where government officials will vote on enacting a complete closure of the country to foreign travel. The ban will tentatively be in effect for the next two weeks.

Already Israel has banned all foreigners arriving from the majority of African countries in recent days on fears that the highly-mutated Omicron coronavirus variant, which first emerged in South Africa, could be the next deadly wave - and with the vaccine possibly doing little to stop it.

AFP/Getty Images

The greatly tightened travel and tourist restrictions are expected to be announced late Saturday night or early Sunday. It's expected to also include a new mandatory quarantine of three days or more for vaccinated Israeli citizens who've returned from traveling abroad. For unvaccinated inbound Israeli citizens the quarantine will be a week.

The fresh travel rules come as authorities scramble to do contact tracing on exposures related to at least one confirmed Omicron case:

Authorities are scrambling to locate 800 Israelis who may have been exposed to the new Omicron variant of COVID-19, a defense official said Saturday.

The Health Ministry confirmed one case of the new variant in Israel, and said there were seven other suspected cases who were awaiting test results.

Four of the suspected cases returned to Israel recently from international travel, and three had not traveled, raising fears of community transmission in Israel.

Prime Minister Bennett ahead of the vote said the government is "preparing for any scenario." And concerning the new still somewhat mysterious variant, the country's interior minister said, "It looks like it might be more infectious, so we’re taking action as fast as possible."

Just days ago the health minister Nitzan Horowitz announced that Israelis will likely have to get a fourth shot, also as children between the ages of 5 to 11 have begun receiving the jab. Ironically the foreign tourist ban is now being re-imposed for one of the most highly vaxxed nations on earth.

At least 80% of all Israelis 16 and older are now considered fully vaccinated.

Tyler Durden Sat, 11/27/2021 - 23:15

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Mexican Authorities List Conditions To Reboot “Remain In Mexico” Program

Mexican Authorities List Conditions To Reboot "Remain In Mexico" Program

Authored by Tom Ozimek via The Epoch Times,

Mexican authorities have laid out a series of conditions for reviving the “Remain in Mexico” program, the Trump-era…



Mexican Authorities List Conditions To Reboot "Remain In Mexico" Program

Authored by Tom Ozimek via The Epoch Times,

Mexican authorities have laid out a series of conditions for reviving the “Remain in Mexico” program, the Trump-era framework under which asylum-seekers were returned to Mexico to await the processing of their claims, with the development coming in context of the Biden administration’s plans to reinstate the policy following a court order.

Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said in a Nov. 26 announcement that talks have “intensified” with the United States on rebooting the program, known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), but that Mexican authorities are waiting for a formal response from the Biden administration on a number of concerns.

“The government of Mexico … has raised various concerns of a humanitarian nature regarding the asylum procedure in the United States,” the ministry said, adding that it has “highlighted the need to improve conditions for migrants and asylum seekers, so that they have better legal advice” regarding the processing of their clams, which Mexico said, “must be carried out as expeditiously as possible.”

One of the conditions is for the United States to accelerate development programs for southern Mexico and Central America in order to address the root causes of migration.

Another is for Washington to offer individuals deported under the MPP program medical care and vaccination against COVID-19 “to protect their right to health and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in communities on both sides of the border.”

Mexico has also requested that the United States respect designated return points, taking into account local security conditions and the capacity of Mexican authorities “to provide adequate care to migrants.”

Another “essential” request is for Washington to provide funding for shelters and non-government organizations “in order to improve conditions for migrants and asylum seekers in a substantive way.”

The demands come as talks between the two countries continue on reimplementing the MPP program after a court in August ordered that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reverse its June decision to halt the policy.

“In compliance with the court order, we are working to reimplement MPP as promptly as possible,” DHS spokesperson Marsha Espinosa told Axios.

”We cannot do so until we have the independent agreement from the Government of Mexico to accept those we seek to enroll in MPP,” Espinosa added.

“We will communicate to the court, and to the public, the timing of reimplementation when we are prepared to do so.”

The Biden administration is facing an unprecedented surge in illegal immigration that critics say is fostered by its lax enforcement policies, including halting MPP and curtailing the use of Title 42, which is used to expel illegal immigrants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tyler Durden Sat, 11/27/2021 - 16:45

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