Pedal To The Metal

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Last week it was reported that thousands of dollars of copper wires were stolen from NYC subways.

The thieves must have had a beat on the commodity market – copper prices rallied to a seven-year high Tuesday on strong economic data out of Asia.

Shredding The Details

While copper hasn’t been the main ingredient in pennies since 1982, the metal is used for wiring, piping and more in nearly all construction projects and household appliances.

Copper prices have risen 25% this year, lifted first by coronavirus supply disruptions and then China’s rapid pandemic recovery. And this week benchmark copper prices on the London Metal Exchange hit $7,719 a ton, their highest since March 2013:

  • Tuesday’s pop in copper came after China and South Korea reported manufacturing activity above market expectations. Amidst strong commercial demand, China has imported a record amount of refined copper this year.

On top of the solid numbers out of the East, Goldman Sachs said the world’s most important industrial metal is in “the first leg of a structural bull market” that could carry prices to all-time highs.

Metal of The Future

Copper is also used to build wind turbines and link renewable sources to the grid. The average electric car contains triple the copper of an internal combustion car.

In a recent report, Jefferies said “renewable power systems are at least five times more copper-intensive than conventional power.”

And with a growing list of countries promising a carbon-neutral future, the investment bank estimates global copper demand will increase from around 23 million tons this year to over 30 million tons by 2030.

Cop-Out: Large copper deposits can take at least 7-10 years to develop, and lately they’ve been hard to pinpoint. There’s been only one major copper discovery since 2015, according to S&P Global Markets. Done any digging in your backyard lately?