The Return of Copper ETFs

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 |  Includes: CU, DBB, JJC
by: Tom Lydon

Seemingly left for dead in recent weeks in the wake of a slowing global economy, copper exchange traded funds and notes are now on track for their strongest week since April.

Copper initially were tumbling in recent weeks, heading for their longest slide since May 2009, as the lower global demand for the commodity hit the markets. Until earlier this week, copper demand had slumped 18%, says Millie Munshi and Chanyaporn Chanjaroen for BusinessWeek.

But then…prices rose. And rose. And now they’re on track for their biggest weekly gain in two months, mostly on speculation that demand in China will pick up. China is, after all, the world’s most voracious consumer of metals, report Millie Munshi and Anna Stablum for BusinessWeek.

Does that mean all is well? Not necessarily. The Chinese government could be taking steps to cool residential property prices that rose at a record pace in April. If that happens, it will further dampen hope for an extended copper rally. The metal is heavily used in pipes and wiring.

On the more favorable side, Firat Kayakiran for Bloomberg reports that China’s economy, the world’s third-largest, expanded 11.9% last quarter from a year earlier, the most in almost three years, after a $586 billion stimulus package and record lending that drove international metals prices higher.

  • First Trust ISE Global Copper (NASDAQ:CU)

  • iPath DJ-UBS AIG Copper ETN (NYSEARCA:JJC)

  • PowerShares DB Base Metals (NYSEARCA:DBB): holds copper, aluminum and zinc futures

Tisha Guerrero contributed to this article.