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Monthly Copper Bulletin-January 2019


Copper traded roughly within a $6000/ton range between early December to mid-January, with prices fluctuating between $5725–$6199 in January. No doubt, the more optimistic tone generated by the recently concluded US/Chinese trade talks have helped stabilize copper of late, although growing macro weakness in China will likely keep a more significant rally in check. The latest Chinese PMI numbers (both the official and private readings)have dipped into contraction territory for the first time in years. These are correlate quite significantly with copper prices, perhaps better than almost any other indicator we have seen.

Meanwhile, the latest ICSG numbers has the global refined copper market in a 595,000-ton deficit through September of last year compared with a 226,000-ton-deficit in the same period a year earlier. The ICSG’s deficit reading to be excessively high and expect the 2018 number to fall from where the ICSG has it once the year is complete.

In other ke developments, Chile's copper production recovered nicely in 2018, increasing 6% year-to-date through November. Given that China has been reducing its scrap imports considerably for much of the past two years, we suspect that Chilean refined units will find a ready home going into China as substitute material for scrap and so the increase in Chilean production should readily be absorbed China imported 4.87 million tons of unwrought copper in the first eleven months of 2018, an increase of 14.9% from a year earlier; ores and conc imports reached 18.25 million year-to-date through November, up 16.4% year-on-year.

The ShFE was closed between 04.02.2019-08.02.2019 session for China's Lunar New Year holiday, re-opening today (on Feb. 11). LME Copper prices were supported by easing U.S.-China trade tension. The first week of Feb copper reached $6,289.5 a tonne although concerns over slowing factory activity in China limited gains (while China was closed). The trade volume was very low. LME closed down 0.83 %at $6,201.5 a tonne on Friday after U.S. President Donald Trump said he did not plan to meet China's Xi Jinping before a March 1 deadline for the two countries to achieve a trade deal. LME copper closed first week of February with 1% weekly gain.

Today Chinese trader turn back and copper edged down 1.02 % on profit taking. There are no ECB and FED meetings on February. We have been waiting March 1 deadline for the two countries (China and US) to achieve a trade deal. If China and the US agree on March 1, we expect a bullish trend on copper.



Monthly Copper Bulletin-MARCH18


Copper ended lower in March for a third month in a row. Copper was trading between $6532-$7064 before ending at $6740.5. For the first quaret of 2018, LME copper edged down 7 percent, not exactly a good start to the year. Several reasons are behind the decline, the most prominent being trade war anxitous between US and China. Both actions sent a chill through ferrous and nonferrous complexes, as investors became rightly concerned that the world’s two most powerful economies could get embroiled in an escalating trade war. A steady increase in copper exchange stocks also weighed on prices; combined stocks at both LME and SHFE were up roughly 18% this past month and have almost doubled vs. this time last year.

The refined copper market ended 2017 with a deficit of about 163,000 tons, this according to the latest ICSG report, up from the group's original projection of 150,000 tons. The ICSG expects the 2018 deficit to shrink to 105.000 tons, not a particularly high number and one that could easily flip into a surplus if Chinese demand starts to flag. So far in 2018, there is not much evidence of that. On the trade side, China imported a little over 544.000 tons of refined copper in the first two months of 2018 — up 6.3 percent year-on-year.

For the year as a whole, Antaike sees Chinese refined consumption rising by 3.3 percent to 11.1 million tons, while domestic refined output is expected to hit 8.35 million tons, a 4.3percent y-o-y increase. This would mean that China would still need to import roughly 3 mln tons of copper, down 7.5 percent from 2017 levels (this according to Antaike), but a sizable number nonetheless.



Monthly Copper Bulletin-NOVEMBER17


The market was remained strong with increasingly confident about its place in the electric car movement, with producers and traders at the London Metal Exchange Week annual gathering speaking positively about the growth in demand expected from this sector. 

Dollar sagged on early November, knocked away from eight-month highs versus the yen, as Treasury yields slipped on uncertainty over whether the Republicans can pass their tax bill in a timely manner.


The supply side,The Indonesian unit of Freeport-McMoRan Inc  has temporarily shut the main supply route to its Papua mine after a shooting incident, a spokesman said, amid escalating tensions between security forces and an armed rebel group in the area in mid of November. Global miner Rio Tinto Plc restarted the smelter at its large Kennecott mine in the United States on 20th of November after a nearly six-week outage but force majeure. Workers for the two largest unions at Southern Copper Corp in Peru said on 22th of November hey had started an indefinite strike, demanding a fair share of profits, while the company said the stoppage had not affected operations. The supply desruptions supported to copper. LME copper edged up $7024 on 27th of November.

China's economy cooled further last month, with industrial output, fixed-asset investment and retail sales missing expectations.  The last week of November copper prices fell as concerns over demand in top consumer China and declining oil prices push investors to sell. LME copper price in November fell by 1.3 percent.



Monthly Copper Bulletin-JULY17


Copper and other metals have been supported by relief that China's economy is proving more resilient than expected, partly due to easier liquidity ahead of China's national congress later this year which has fed metals demand. A pick-up in the industrial sector helped China post better-than-expected second quarter economic growth as finance and real estate expansions slowed to multi-year lows. China's exports and imports grew much less than expected in July, raising concerns over whether global demand is starting to cool even as major Western central banks consider scaling back years of massive stimulus support. China's copper imports rose 8 percent in July from last year as the availability of credit improved, even as concerns lingered about manufacturing activity.

The Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged on 27th July and said it expected to start winding down its massive holdings of bonds "relatively soon" in a sign of confidence in the U.S. economy. A gauge of U.S. factory activity slid from a near three-year high in July amid a slowdown in new orders and consumer spending barely rose in the prior month, setting the stage for a moderate economic expansion in the third quarter. Federal Reserve policymakers appeared increasingly wary about recent weak inflation and some called for halting interest rate hikes until it was clear the trend was transitory, according to the minutes of the U.S. central bank's last policy meeting.

The dollar dipped, making dollar priced metals cheaper for non-U.S. investors, while world stocks, seen as a proxy for growth, breached new records on better-than-expected company earnings and strong U.S. jobs data. North Korea were the right response to a series of missile tests, but dialogue was vital to resolve a complex and sensitive issue, now at a "critical juncture". North Korea said it is "carefully examining" plans for a missile strike on the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, just hours after U.S. President Donald Trump told the North that any threat to the United States would be met with "fire and fury”.  The dollar firmed this week after North Korea's leader signalled that he would delay plans to fire a missile near Guam, further easing tensions and prompting investors to move back into riskier assets. Also

Copper prices were at their highest since 2014 as rises across most industrial metals triggered pre-set buy orders and a wave of speculative buying and supported by a weaker dollar and increasingly upbeat views about China's economic growth and metals demand. Benchmark copper was 2.5 percent higher at $6,580 on 17th August, its highest since November 2014. But the gains came despite data showing China's home price growth slowed in July, reinforcing expectations that property price growth may stagnate over the course of the year, a negative for industrial commodities. Also metals were set in downward motion on 17th August by weaker than expected U.S. industrial production, which rose only 0.2 percent in July.


Monthly Copper Bulletin-JUNE17


Industrial metals markets will be watching manufacturing, investment, property market and loans data for clues on the strength of its copper demand over coming months. China accounts for nearly half of global copper demand, estimated at around 23 million tonnes this year. Activity in China's manufacturing sector in June quickened from the previous month, in a reassuring sign the world's second-biggest economy kept up a reasonable pace of growth after a solid first quarter.

Federal Reserve policymakers were increasingly split on the outlook for inflation and how it might affect the future pace of interest rate rises, according to the minutes of the Fed's last policy meeting on June 13-14 released. The U.S. economy continues to churn out jobs and grow at a steady pace, with investment and consumer confidence both healthy and only moderate signs of risk in financial markets, the U.S. Federal Reserve said. London copper inched up on Monday after a solid U.S. jobs report buoyed hopes that an economic recovery is taking root in the world's top economy, spurring appetite for riskier assets. The data followed expansion in China's manufacturing sector in June, which also underpinned investor demand for metals. U.S. stocks and bonds rallied July 14, with the S&P 500 Index reaching a new intraday high, as U.S. inflation data came in short of Federal Reserve expectations, spotlighting concerns of some central bankers about additional interest rate hikes.

The dollar fell to a more than one-week low against a basket of major currencies, after U.S. President Donald Trump's eldest son released an email chain citing Russian support for his father before last year's U.S. election. A weaker dollar typically draws interest for U.S. dollar-denominated commodities such as copper from investors outside the United States using other currencies. The U.S. dollar hit a 10-month low against a basket of currencies, making dollar-denominated commodities cheaper for holders of other currencies and potentially boosting demand.

Workers at the Zaldivar copper mine in Chile, owned by Antofagasta and Barrick Gold Corp, voted to approve a strike on Monday after talks with the company failed. The nearby Centinela mine is also in negotiations over strike action. Together the two mines produced 340,000 tonnes of copper in 2016.

China's economy grew 6.9 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, faster than expected and in line with the first quarter's growth. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected the economy to expand 6.8 percent in the April-June quarter.

While oil advanced last week, prices in New York are still below $50 a barrel on concerns expanded global supplies will offset output curbs by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies. The group’s output climbed last month to the highest this year as members exempt from the deal -- Nigeria and Libya -- pumped more and others slipped in delivering their pledged curbs.

Workers voted to approve a strike at a mine in Chile, following industrial disputes in Indonesia and at the world's biggest copper mine, also in Chile, earlier in the year, that whittled into copper supply. Copper prices hit 4-1/2-month highs on July 17 as better-than-expected economic data from top consumer China and a weak dollar helped reinforce expectations of strong demand. Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange ended up 1.2 percent at $6.003 a tonne from an earlier $6,022.5, its highest since March 2.


Monthly Copper Bulletin-MAY17


Moody's downgraded China's credit rating for the first time in nearly 30 years, saying it expects the financial strength of the economy to erode in coming years as growth slows and debt continues to rise. Much of the price weakness in copper is because of the tighter credit situation in China, when this reverses the Chinese speculative community will look at copper in a more positive light.

Miners at Grasberg, the world's second-largest copper mine by production, opted to strike for a month at the beginning of May, but this has been extended. Freeport is currently operating under a temporary export permit to ship copper concentrates out of Grasberg, which is in the Indonesian territory of West Papua, after the government lifted an export ban in April. BHP declared force majeure at the mine in early February at the start of a labour strike that lasted 43 days and cost the world's biggest mining house an estimated $1 billion. It has lifted a declaration of force majeure at its Escondida copper mine in Chile, more than a month after a costly strike came to an end.

China's economy is likely to have remained on a stable footing in May, buoyed by solid gains in trade and investment as economic ties with the United States take a positive turn and infrastructure spending cushions domestic growth. U.S. services sector activity slowed in May as new orders tumbled, but a jump in employment to a near two-year high pointed to sustained labor market strength despite a deceleration in job growth last month. The British pound dropped as the U.K.’s ruling Conservative Party lost its parliamentary majority, plunging the country into uncertainty just days before Brexit negotiations were due to start. Sterling dropped the most in eight months as the election intended to strengthen Prime Minister Theresa May’s hand in negotiations with the European Union instead left her battling to survive.

Copper stocks in LME warehouses fell 7,875 tonnes on June 7 to 286,350 tonnes, continuing their retreat from early May's seven-month high. They have declined almost 20 percent from that peak. China reported stronger-than-anticipated exports and imports for May despite falling commodity prices, suggesting the economy is holding up better than expected despite rising lending rates and a cooling property market. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange had risen 0.2 percent to $5,832 a tonne on June 9. Copper, used in power and construction, made its biggest weekly gains since mid-March last week, ending about 2.5 percent higher.

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates on June 14 for the second time in three months and said it would begin cutting its holdings of bonds and other securities this year, signaling its confidence in a growing U.S. economy and strengthening job market. U.S. stocks fell for the fourth time in five days as selling in technology shares worsened, sending the Nasdaq indexes lower by more than 0.6 percent. The dollar advanced with Treasury yields as traders digested the more hawkish tone struck by the Federal Reserve.

London copper dipped to its lowest in last week on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised rates for the second time this year, boosting financing costs for industry. But solid Chinese economic data limited losses and resulted in higher steel prices that pushed up zinc and lifted nickel from a one-year low. Crude prices fell sharply after a large build in U.S. gasoline inventories and a projected rise in non-OPEC production. Lower energy prices tend to pressure metals because they deter investors from buying into commodity basket funds and allow smelters to produce at lower prices.


Monthly Copper Bulletin-APRIL17


The U.S. Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged in April meeting and downplayed weak first-quarter economic growth while emphasising the strength of the labour market, in a sign it was still on track for two more rate rises this year. A bounce in the dollar after the Federal Reserve played down any threats to this year's planned interest rate hikes, solidifying expectations of another move in June, pressured commodities across the board, meanwhile. Copper fell to $5.542 extending losses after its biggest one-day drop in 20 months to head towards its April lows, as rising inventories, worries over cooling demand and a bounce in the dollar all weighed.

China's factory sector lost momentum in April, with growth slowing to its weakest pace in seven months as domestic and export demand faltered and commodity prices fell. Growth in China's services sector cooled to its slowest in almost a year in April as fears of slower economic growth dented business confidence, even as cost pressures eased. Concerns that heat is evaporating from China's economy have added to downside pressure on metals.  China's April copper imports fell 30 percent month on month to 300,000 tonnes and were down by a third from a year ago as a subdued outlook for industrial activity weighed on demand. Copper slid to a four-month low (at $5.463) after data showed a steep drop in imports into China, the world's biggest consumer, feeding pessimism over demand following hefty inflows into London Metal Exchange inventories.

Capping copper's gains, the dollar rose versus a currency basket, with another U.S. rate hike in June now almost certain. A stronger dollar makes dollar-priced copper more expensive for holders of other currencies. Stock markets were put on edge by U.S President Donald Trump's abrupt dismissal of FBI Director James Comey and rising tensions over North Korea's nuclear programme. The euro firmed, European stocks and U.S. stock futures hit a record high after centrist Emmanuel Macron comfortably won the French presidential election.

Support for base metals also came from a weaker U.S. currency, which makes dollar-denominated metals cheaper for non-U.S. companies, potentially boosting demand. Crude oil rose above $52 a barrel for the first time since April after Saudi Arabia and Russia said that OPEC-led output cuts need to be extended for a further nine months until March 2018.

London copper prices were steady $5.560 - $5.640 band in this week, stymied by expectations of slowing growth in the economy of top metals consumer China. After clocking 6.9 percent in the first quarter thanks to spending on infrastructure and a property boom that policymakers want to rein in, analysts surveyed by Reuters reckon 2017 economic growth will just about make Beijing's target of 6.5 percent as it slows over the rest of the year. 


Monthly Copper Bulletin-MARCH17


Activity in China's manufacturing sector unexpectedly expanded at the fastest pace in nearly 5 years in March, adding to evidence that the world's second-largest economy has gained momentum early this year. Long-term core numbers like these, especially in China, will underpin the global economy, and in turn could start to trigger the much-talked-about infrastructure projects, and thus, physical metals buying.

Investors were jittery about the possibility President Donald Trump's healthcare bill might not pass, suggesting he may struggle to muster the backing needed to push through fiscal measures central to the U.S. government's economic agenda. Trump's election was seen as good for markets, but he is now being seen as potentially less effective than people were thinking. Commodity markets have soared since November on expectations Trump will increase spending on infrastructure. The dollar and U.S. long-dated Treasury yields sharp dropped with with worries easing over President Donald Trump's ability to push through economic reform.

The strike at Chile's Escondida, the world's largest copper mine, is ending after workers decided to invoke a rarely used legal provision that allows them to extend their old contract. Workers returnned to work at the world's biggest copper mine in Chile after a strike that began on Feb. 9

China called on the United States to play its part in resolving trade frictions between the two countries, and said Beijing isn't devaluing its currency to boost exports as tensions simmered ahead of President Xi Jinping's first meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump. The United States is targeting a reduction in China's $347 billion goods trade surplus through tougher enforcement of trade laws and anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties. China's 2017 export outlook brightened considerably as it reported forecast-beating trade growth in March and as U.S. President Donald Trump softened his anti-China rhetoric in an abrupt policy shift.

A U.S. Navy strike group will move towards the western Pacific Ocean near the Korean peninsula as a show of force, a U.S. official told Reuters on Saturday, as concerns grow about North Korea's advancing weapons programme. Increasing tensions, plus a U.S. jobs report that showed the labour market was still healthy pushed the dollar to three-week highs against a basket of currencies, eroding the purchasing power of commodity buyers paying with other currencies.

Shares and the dollar fell on April 18 as a snap general election call in Britain added to a lengthening list of uncertainties for investors already on edge over North Korea and a tight presidential race in France.

The LME were closed on April 14-17 for the Easter break. The copper resumed its firmer trend after reopening following Easter break.London copper eased as rising geopolitical tensions blunted appetite for risk .  Copper, hit three-month lows on April 23 to its weakest since early January at $5,530 a tonne as geopolitical worries from sabre-rattling over North Korea to a snap UK general election hurt investor appetite for cyclical assets such as base metals.

Chinese refined copper output in March rose 8.5 percent from a year ago to 764,000 tonnes, the highest since at least December 2015, official data showed. After this data, London copper rose but was mired near its lowest for the year after China's refined production surged in March, underlining ample stocks in the world's biggest metals consumer.


Monthly Copper Bulletin-FEBRUARY17


In supply news, Indonesia will not back down from new rules requiring Freeport-McMoran to divest a majority stake in its local unit, its mines minister said late last week in a dispute over rights to the world's second-biggest copper mine which has frozen exports. Meanwhile, Chile expects economic activity growth to be hit by around one percentage point in February because of a strike at world no.1 copper mine Escondida, as copper output slides 12 percent year-on-year. Workers at Cerro Verde mine, one of the largest copper producers in Peru, also plan to start a five-day strike to demand better labour conditions, a union representative.

Factory activity in China expanded faster than expected in February as domestic and export demand picked up, adding to signs that the economy is gaining momentum even as fears grow of a surge in trade protectionism. Copper imports to China -- accounting global for nearly half of global consumption estimated at around 23 million tonnes this year -- totalled 340,000 tonnes in February, down 10.5 percent from January and down 19 percent from a year ago.

The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark lending rate a quarter point and continued to project two more increases this year, signaling more vigilance as inflation approaches its target. “In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate,” the Federal Open Market Committee said in its statement Wednesday. “Near-term risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced.” Investors had almost fully expected the increase to a range of 0.75 percent to 1 percent following unusually clear signals from policy makers including Chair Janet Yellen, who explained the committee’s thinking at a press conference in Washington. “Our decision to make another gradual reduction in the amount of policy accommodation reflects the economy’s continued progress,” she told reporters. For now, officials stuck with their “gradual” approach to tightening monetary policy, while removing the word “only when a previous statement called the approach “only gradual.” The dollar held around five-week lows against a basket of currencies after the upward path of U.S. interest rates looked less clear following a Federal Reserve meeting.

The Federal Reserve is on track to raise interest rates twice more this year after a policy tightening, and it could be more or less aggressive depending on inflation and fiscal policies from the Trump administration. The metal had earlier joined a sell-off in shares, oil and other commodities on concerns that U.S. President Trump had yet to implement mooted tax cuts and infrastructure spending.

The last news from the mines; The union for striking workers at BHP Billiton's Escondida copper mine in Chile said after meeting with the company this week that it was open to further conversations that could lead to reopening negotiations. A strike at Peru's top copper mine, Cerro Verde, is set to end by government order on Thursday, but workers said the stoppage would start right back up if no deal over their demands is reached with management. Freeport McMoRan Inc's Indonesian unit has resumed production of copper concentrate at its giant Grasberg mine, ending a more than one-month stoppage. 


Monthly Copper Bulletin-JANUARY17


The potential for supply disruptions has become an increasing focus in copper markets in the past month with workers at the world's largest mine in Chile set to strike and with Freeport-McMoRan Inc's Grasberg mine in Indonesia yet to be granted a new export permit. Also adding to supply kinks in copper, protests over public work projects in a remote highland region of Peru have blocked roads used by MMG Ltd to transport copper concentrates from its Las Bambas mine.

A strike at BHP Billiton's huge Escondida mine in Chile and a lack of permits for exports from Freeport McMoRan's Grasberg mine in Indonesia are chipping away at mine supply that is expected to be in a small surplus this year. Escondida produced 1.15 million tonnes of copper in 2015, about 6 percent of the world's total. A potential 1 million tonnes of world output, or 5 percent of supply, may be at risk of disruption this year compared to 600,000 tonnes in 2016.

As a strike at the world's top mine, Escondida in Chile, caused a second week of disruption. Escondida declared force majeure last week. A government-mediated meeting between BHP Billiton and striking workers at its Escondida copper mine in Chile has failed, and workers will head back to their encampment without any future dialogue planned. Furthermore, The chief executive of miner Freeport-McMoran Inc's Indonesian unit has resigned after the parent firm declared force majeure on copper concentrate shipments from its Grasberg mine in Papua. The price of copper rose 2.9 percent to $6.204 on Feb.13 hit its highest level since May 2015, extending the previous session's near 5 percent surge after shipments from the world's two biggest copper mines were disrupted.

Industrial metals were broadly supported by news of steady manufacturing in top copper consumer China. The official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) stood at 51.3 in January, compared with the previous month's 51.4. Also supporting metals, U.S. interest rates can likely remain low through at least 2017, with no clear sense yet of whether the Trump administration's policies will spark higher inflation or growth.

Base metals were also broadly supported, with zinc touching a 2-1/2 month high, after U.S. President Trump calmed international tensions by affirming the "one-China" policy and promised big tax cuts. Trade data from China, the world's biggest metals consumer, also bolstered prices.

China's imports of copper fell 14 percent in January from a year ago as demand from the world's top consumer and producer slowed ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday. China's imports of copper were also down 22 percent from December to 380,000 tonnes in January. Trading was dampened by the week-long Lunar New Year holiday, with the Shanghai Futures Exchange due to reopen on Feb.02

The dollar was on course for its worst start to a year since 2008 as concerns over the broader shape of policy under U.S. President Donald Trump outweighed the expectations of higher U.S. inflation that dominated the end of last year.The U.S. dollar held broad gains against its major rivals, after ending down streak and rebounding overnight as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen suggested U.S interest rates could be raised quickly this year.

The market is awaiting more detail from President-elect Donald Trump on his plans to increase infrastructure spending that could benefit industrial metals. 


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TCMB Currencies (27.10.2021) USD: 9,4745 - EUR: 11,001 - GBP: 13,0907 Fixing Currencies (27.10.2021) USD: 9,5014 - EUR: 11,0283 - GBP: 13,0616 Fixing Parities EUR / USD: 1,1607 - GBP / USD: 1,3747