Daily Management Review

Analysts React to Copper Prices As Double Mine Closure Pushes Prices to 20 Month High


02/15/2017




Analysts React to Copper Prices As Double Mine Closure Pushes Prices to 20 Month High
As closures of two of the world's biggest mines amplified concerns of a supply shortage, London copper hit its highest levels in 20 months.
 
Noting a continuation of the upwards trend seen since last week, when production was halted at two key sites, and its highest level since May of 2015, the three-month London Metal Exchange contract rose 0.10 percent to $6,097 per metric ton.
 
Chile's BHP Billiton site was prompted to announce Friday that it would not meet its upcoming contractual obligations on metals shipments after miners at the firm’s mine site, the world's largest copper mine, last week walked out over a wage dispute. Meanwhile, after it failed to reach an agreement on a new mining permit with the government, an export ban has caused Freeport-McMoRan to cease work in Indonesia.
 
Taking the metal to a 17-month high and as tensions heightened, prices leapt 4.4 percent on Friday last week.
 
The metal price was pushed up to $6,204 a tonne in volumes of around 8,000 lots in Asian trading as more than 300 vandals broke into property at BHP Billiton and forced contracted workers to stop working over the weekend which has been widely reported in the media and news of which has reached the markets.
 
However questions are arising that whether these incidents would say precious little about the metal or does this signal the start of a chain reaction for base metals.
 
It's a sector worth watching, "given the tendency for commodity prices to correlate", according to a press note from Kit Juckes, macro strategist at Societe Generale. However, the impact is set to be more limited , believes Vivienne Lloyd, senior analyst at Macquarie.
 
"Copper rallying has a bullish effect on the other base metals, as we saw last Friday, but less so on other commodities such as energy," she told CNBC by email.
 
"It seems more likely to be a short term rally based on recent disruption events," said Lloyd, who believes a long-term run is unlikely.
 
"A sell-off when (BHP Billiton) goes back to work would be the most probable trigger for a reversal," she said, however suggesting that the troubles for Freeport-McMoRan in Indonesia could be somewhat greater.
 
"In the interim, however, uncertainty remains around Grasberg (Indonesia). We think PT Freeport Indonesia will move to reduce operations this week due to the export ban, which is likely to spark another short term up-trend."
 
Last week the Chinese released data that stronger-than-expected, where exports and imports were up, subsequently boosting metal prices, and the recent market shifts are also riding on the impact of those data.
 
Meanwhile, there seems to be little sign of resolution as the Escondida copper strike drags on.
 
BHP last week was forced to swiftly declare force majeure, an admission that it will not be able to meet its contractual obligations as the workers’ union said its 2,500 members are committed to action and is threatening a two-month stoppage.
 
(Source:www.cnbc.com) 






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