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Some contrary copper talk

|Includes: BDD, BDG, BOM, BOS, Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (FCX), SCCO, TECK

I recently blogged about the rising copper inventories worldwide.   Copper inventories keep growing at an accelerated pace.

So why are prices rising as well?  I see a few items driving prices higher right now, those being the dollar, an expectation for a recovering worldwide economy, and strikes at copper mines in South America.


The recovering world economy and China specifically has been the standard mantra for why asset prices are rising, whatever the asset.  If China is rebounding, why are Chinese copper exports rising?  If China has a desperate need for copper right now why are the traders sending copper out of the country?  Don't know, but this does not coincide with the bullish copper thesis. 

There have been several strikes in South America at copper mines and several large copper mines have their work contracts ending in the next two months (Reuters list) .   So far all the striking mines have gone back to work and contracts at some mines have recently been concluded. The long running (40+ days) BHP / Spence mine copper strike just ended.  (Bloomberg)   Spence mine produced about 500 tons of copper a day so you can add that to the 2000+ tons / day of excess inventory already going into inventories.

A recovering housing market has been the hope of copper bulls as well, but as you will note from my numerous housing posts I do not think new home construction will come roaring back in America any time soon.  I suggest you go to Calculatedriskblog for the full details on American housing.

I don't have any short positions on copper or copper miners as the momentum upwards is just too strong and it fits with the worlwide reflation theme.  When this theme ends I fear copper prices could revert lower if inventories keep rising.