Copper Prices Soar to Two-Year Highs

Copper Prices Soar to Two-Year Highs

Renata Sanchez
2 min read

Copper Prices Surge to Two-Year Highs, Despite Market Discrepancies

Copper prices have soared to two-year highs, surpassing the $10,000 mark. However, spot contracts are trading at record discounts to futures, indicating an oversupply and slack demand. The contango of $152.50/ton signals financial strain for long-term copper bulls due to the cost of rolling contracts forward, contradicting bullish bets on a mine-supply squeeze.

Key Takeaways

  • Copper prices hit two-year highs, but spot contracts at record discounts to futures signal oversupply and slack demand.
  • Contango of $152.50/ton points to financial strain for long-term copper bulls due to the cost of rolling contracts forward.
  • Bullish bets on mine-supply squeeze contradicted by massive contango, indicating smelters haven't cut output significantly.
  • Copper's pivotal role in carbon-neutral goals presents investment opportunities in companies like SQM and BHP.
  • Strategic international agreements, such as the DRC-China minerals-for-infrastructure deal, underscore copper's global demand.


The surge in copper prices to two-year highs, amid oversupply and slack demand, reveals a disconnect between physical and financial markets. The contango of $152.50/ton signals financial strain for long-term copper bulls, contradicting bullish bets on a mine-supply squeeze. This situation may result from smelters not significantly cutting output, driven by strategic international agreements like the DRC-China minerals-for-infrastructure deal, highlighting copper's global demand.

Forthcoming impacts will be felt by countries and organizations heavily reliant on copper, such as China, Chile, and mining companies like SQM and BHP, leading to short-term consequences like increased revenue and financial strain. The long-term outlook points to continued investment opportunities and demand, driven by copper's essential role in carbon-neutral goals.

Did You Know?

  • Contango: It's a term used in commodity trading, denoting a situation where the futures price of a commodity exceeds the spot price. The contango of $152.50/ton indicates the substantial cost of rolling forward copper futures contracts, posing financial strain for long-term copper bulls.
  • Mine-Supply Squeeze and Smelters: A "mine-supply squeeze" refers to a potential copper shortage due to reduced mining activity. The massive contango contradicts this notion, suggesting that smelters have not significantly reduced their output. Smelters are facilities that process mined copper ore into a purer form, known as copper concentrate, highlighting a possible misalignment in market expectations.
  • DRC-China Minerals-for-Infrastructure Deal: This international agreement underscores the global demand for copper. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and China have struck a minerals-for-infrastructure deal, emphasizing the critical role copper plays in global infrastructure projects and the significance of copper supply in meeting the world's demand.

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