By Myra P. Saefong
Copper futures climbed Tuesday, as signs of strengthening demand from China and news of the possible availability of COVID-19 vaccine as early as December helped lift prices for the industrial metal to their highest finish in more than two years.
Copper prices “have broken out to the upside off the combination of hope for the U.S. stimulus, but also because of further positive vaccine news,” said analysts at Zaner Metals, in a daily note.
“Adding into the bull track in copper…is another Chinese import quota,” allowing 5,980 metric tons of copper scrap to be imported into China, providing “specific evidence of ongoing Chinese demand for all forms of copper,” they said.
Chinese copper imports rose to their second-highest level on record in September, at 722,450 metric tons, Reuters reported last week, citing data from China’s General Administration of Customs.
Data on Monday from Chinese officials also showed that the country’s gross domestic product expanded by 4.9% in the third quarter from a year earlier.
“The country is the largest importer of copper in the world, and the recent GDP and industrial production numbers point to an uptick in the recovery,” said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK.
On Wednesday, the most-active December copper contract rose 6 cents, or 2%, to $3.148 a pound on Comex. The settlement was the highest for a most-active contract since June 2018, according to FactSet data.