Copper rose above $10,000 a ton amid concerns over mine-supply growth and as Chinese investors returned from a three-day break.
The metal climbed to the highest in a decade this week, fueling bets it will rally further to take out the record of $10,190 set in February 2011. The reopening of major industrial economies is sparking a surge across commodities markets from iron ore to lumber, with tin climbing above $30,000 a ton for the first time since 2011 on Thursday.
Trading house Trafigura Group and several major Wall Street banks including Goldman Sachs Group and Bank of America expect copper to extend gains. Australia & New Zealand Banking Group raised its price target to $10,750 on Thursday, saying supply-side issues are adding to market tightness as increasing optimism over a global economic recovery, government stimulus and rising investment in new energy sectors drive demand growth.
“The long-term prospects for metals prices are ‘too good’ and point to higher prices in the next few years,” said Daniel Briesemann, an analyst at Commerzbank AG. “The decarbonisation trends in many countries — which include switching to electric vehicles and expanding wind and solar power — are likely to generate additional demand for metals.”
Still, Briesemann expects a short-term correction in copper and other metals prices, which he said have become detached from fundamentals.
The metals rally has boosted concerns about short-term Chinese demand. Some manufacturers and end-users have been slowing production or pushing back delivery times after costs surged, while weaker-than-expected domestic consumption has opened the arbitrage window for exports.
“Copper prices will remain strong as a continued rebound in global PMIs bolstered investors’ bullish sentiment,” Citic Futures said in a note. While Chinese demand doesn’t support overheated prices, the broker recommended investors holding onto their positions for the time being.
Peru might also potentially offer some relief to tight global supplies after it reported a 19% jump in March copper output.
Copper rose as much as 0.8% to $10,028.50 a ton on the London Metal Exchange before trading at $10,010 as of 11:22 a.m. in London. Aluminum rose 1.3%.
Tin rallied as much as 1.9% to $30,235 a ton on the LME, boosted by rising orders for the soldering metal. Tin is at the highest since May 2011, with a 48% gain this year making it the best performing metal on the LME.
The tin market has been in the grip of a historic supply squeeze due to rising demand for electronics, freight disruptions and production issues during the pandemic. Thursday’s price increase came after a jump in orders for tin stored in warehouses tracked by the LME.