Long Strange Trip: Copper Prices Bounce Around for the First Week of August

Long Strange Trip: Copper Prices Bounce Around for the First Week of August

If you look at the price of copper on August 2 compared to the price on Friday, August 6, you would think it was pretty uneventful. What happened in between those dates is where you find the story.

Starting the week at $4.44 a pound, copper prices had dropped since the last week of July.  As the chart above shows you, a number of factors led to a drop of nearly .14 cents a pound by mid-week, before settling back toward $4.36 a pound by Friday.

On Tuesday, August 3, China announced it would not need to import as much copper as initially expected, and that led to a steep drop in price, at one point hitting $4.30 a pound. On Wednesday, August 4, China announced lockdowns in several cities as COVID cases spiked, which meant lower demand as China’s factory output hit a 17-month low. Prices bounced back up on Thursday to settle at $4.36 a pound.

When you look at prices this summer, the 60 day chart shows the highest price in early June above $4.50 a pound, meaning we have seen a more than .20 cents a pound drop since June 7th.

And when you look at prices compared to August of 202o, we are still paying more than $1.30 a pound more for copper.

Erin Prinster, NAED’s Research Data Analyst who prepares the supply chain’s quarterly Economic and Industry Sector Outlook, is not surprised by the current copper price, but does expect a price dip throughout the rest of 2021. “I predicted copper would average in July at $4.47/lb. July ended at $4.47/lb., but averaged about 3% lower than my forecast of $4.35/lb. Copper will remain above its average price. The average price this year has been $4.17/lb., which is fifteen cents higher than the average high over the last twenty-one years. Since May, the price of copper has averaged lower. I believe copper will end the year on average just under $4.00/lb. as demand decreases a bit and supply catches up.”

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