Speculation that the United States government could reach an agreement on the debt ceiling breathed some life back into copper prices on Thursday. The red metal has been weak since the US government partially shut down at the beginning of the month.
Copper for three-month delivery climbed to $7,142 per tonne in London on Thursday, up from its opening price of nearly $7,100.
Today, the US Republicans presented President Barack Obama with the offer of a short-term increase to the debt limit to stave off default. CBC writes that according to US House Speaker John Boehner, the Republicans “would vote to extend the government’s ability to borrow money for six weeks.” However, before any agreement can be reached, Obama must first agree to renewed negotiations on spending cuts.
It seems that despite copper’s weakness of late, there are still some out there who are confident in the red metal’s future. For instance, a Financial Times article published on October 9 starts with the bold statement, “‘Dr Copper’ is in town. And he has given the global economy a clean bill of health.”
While indeed it is a bold statement, it is one that is being supported by Thomas Keller, chief executive of the world’s largest copper producer, Codelco. “We’ve seen a very healthy growth in demand in China, exceeding expectations. We’re witnessing a modest recovery in the US. And in the case of Europe, we believe that there are signs that we have reached the bottom of the market,” he said.
Also throwing support in Dr. Copper’s corner is Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold’s (NYSE:FCX) senior vice president of marketing and sales, Javier Targhetta, who admitted to being “very positive regarding the strength of copper.” Targhetta said, “[t]he recovery in the U.S. is a fact. There are promising signs in Europe.”
Targhetta believes copper has yet to respond to bullish economic data coming out of Europe. He explained that while copper for three-month delivery has fallen nearly 10 percent this year, prices have gained the most in the third quarter of this year.
China makes plays for copper
Bidding for Glencore Xstrata’s (LSE:GLEN) Peruvian Las Bambas project has come down to two Chinese companies. Chinalco and Minmetals have made it onto the shortlist of companies vying for the $5.9-million copper project.
Glencore decided to sell the Las Bambas project in order to meet demands from China’s competition authorities following its takeover of Xstrata, Reuters reported. The Chinese regulators feared that the commodities Titan, Glencore Xstrata, would be too tied into copper. When it comes to copper, China is the largest copper consumer. Las Bambas —which is expected to start production in 2015— is expected to produce over 450,000 tonnes of copper a year for its first five years of operation, and an annual 300,000 tonnes thereafter.
- Intersected 25.51 meters grading: 3.25% nickel, 0.48% copper, 0.11% cobalt,
- Including: 18.62 meters of 4.31% nickel, 0.62% copper, 0.14% cobalt
- Including: 7.12 meters of 5.18% nickel, 0.81% copper, 0.17% cobalt
- Including: 4.01 meters of 6.04% nickel, 0.64% copper, 0.19% cobalt
Nevada Copper (TSX:NCU) has received the second tranche of US$15 million, pursuant to the US$200 million senior secured loan facility and copper concentrate off-take agreement between the company and a special purpose vehicle that is jointly owned by Orion Resource Partners and RK Mine Finance.
Securities Disclosure: I, Vivien Diniz, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.