Copper Buyers Balk as Europe Crisis Unfolds

Copper has fallen 15 percent from this year's peak of $8,765 touched in February because economic worries from China to Europe and the United States have raised concern that demand for commodities such as copper would drop.

Codelco, the world's largest copper producer, said buyers are delaying metal purchases amid concern that Europe's debt crisis will slow global growth. Declining prices, including a 12 percent slump last month, reflect global demand that is falling short of Codelco's estimated 3 to 3.5 percent annual growth rate, said Thomas Keller, the state-owned company's chief executive officer.

Everybody is more cautious about making investments in copper; Copper gained for a second day as industrial metals advanced on speculation policy makers will take steps to revive the slowing global economy. Three-month copper climbed as much as 0.9 percent to $7,473.50 a metric ton on the LME , before trading at $7,462.75 at 10:03 a.m. Shanghai time. The contract gained as much as 1.6 percent yesterday, the most since May 21.

The mood was similarly upbeat towards Europe with sources saying Germany and European Union officials are urgently exploring ways to rescue Spain's debt-stricken banks.

But the real test of demand for industrial raw materials will be in China. The world's top copper consumer will release the latest import data this weekend and some analysts are expecting China's refined copper imports to fall for a third straight month in May, which could deflate prices next week.

Bulging stockpiles at home and slow demand had curbed Chinese appetite for the metal, giving traders less reason to snap up copper which fell to a 2012 low of $7,301 last week.


Gold May Advance as Optimism for Further Stimulus Weakens Dollar

Gold may gain on speculation Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will signal that more stimulus is needed, weakening the dollar and increasing demand for alternative investments. Futures retreated from a one-month high. Immediate-delivery gold was little changed at $1,619.82 an ounce at 10:55 a.m. in Singapore, after adding 0.4 percent. The metal climbed to a one-month high of $1,641.03 an ounce yesterday,

Economist Shayne Heffernan of Market Outlook

Shayne Heffernan

Shayne Heffernan oversees the management of funds for institutions and high net worth individuals.

Shayne Heffernan holds a Ph.D. in Economics and brings with him over 25 years of trading experience in Asia and hands on experience in Venture Capital, he has been involved in several start ups that have seen market capitalization over $500m and 1 that reached a peak market cap of $15b. He has managed and overseen start ups in Mining, Shipping, Technology and Financial Services.Read the Terms of Service