Copper prices are believed to provide a reliable measure of economic health, as changes to copper prices can suggest global growth or an upcoming recession. This is due to its widespread applications in all sectors of the economy, such as power generation and transmission, construction, factory equipment and electronics. With its high volatility and strong liquidity, copper is attractive to traders. Extraction and transportation costs play into the final price of copper at any given time, but so does supply and demand.
At Allied Wire and Cable, we provide our customers with quality copper at bargain prices. As industry experts, we can help customers combat high or volatile copper prices. As seen in the chart below, copper prices have fluctuated throughout history. At Allied Wire and Cable, we can help you avoid sticker shock when purchasing copper.
The Coronavirus Pandemic and Copper Prices
In 2020, copper prices started the year trending above $6000, but as the coronavirus pandemic hit worldwide, lockdowns and other measures were taken hitting supply and demand. By March, copper prices had sunk to their lowest point at $4617.50. Copper’s rebound began in the second quarter with a recovery in China, the world’s top copper consumer, which was hit first by the pandemic. Continuing through the third and fourth quarters, copper prices hit a seven-year high.
As the pandemic continues, additional restrictions may lead to supply disruptions. According to an article from S&P Global, it was predicted that because of these restrictions, the production of copper would have decreased “by 3% year over year to 16.6 Mt in 2020.” The pandemic’s impact on the global supply chain and logistics have resulted in the year-on-year supply of the metal from Chile and Peru to tighten. In an article about copper prices rising in 2021, it was stated that with an expected increase in copper demand,” a rise in the price of copper is likely to continue in 2021 on low inventories and a bullish demand narrative, though at a slower pace.”
Camden Copper Prices
Camden vs COMEX Copper Pricing
In the Wire and Cable Industry, there are two indexes that are primarily referred to, the COMEX Copper Index and the Omega-Camden Copper Index.
The COMEX (Commodities Exchange) Index is a well-known division of the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) and focuses on the trade of metals such as high-grade copper, gold, and silver. Updated on a daily basis, COMEX can predict future commodity prices. This index gives us the price of globally traded larger diameter copper produced by mines, also referred to as the “rod” price.
The International Wire Group, a manufacturer of a wide range of copper wire supplied the Omega-Camden Copper Index. This index prices copper after it’s been drawn down to size, rather than in its raw form. Rod copper is pulled through a series of dies during the drawing process, which stretches the copper out into a longer, thinner strand. These strands are bunched together to form a single-stranded conductor in the end.The Omega-Camden Index is only updated twice a month.
Prices from the COMEX Index will always be lower than the Camden Index because it is based only on the cost of the source copper. Since the Camden Copper Index includes processing costs, it is usually about 0.15 to 0.20 cents per pound higher than the COMEX Index. Both of these indexes are reputable and reliable sources for copper pricing.
Today, copper is the best non-precious metal conductor of electricity. Used in power cables, generators, motors, transformers, and extensively in the manufacture of electronics and electrical components. Copper also has decorative as well as practical uses as pipes and wiring in houses and buildings with other uses including industrial machinery, vehicles and coins.
Copper moves around the world in a variety of forms such as copper ore, raw copper, refined copper and copper wire. There are five countries that sit on roughly 65% of the world’s copper deposits, including Chile, Australia, Peru, Mexico, and the United States. Roughly 700 million metric tons of copper have been mined and an estimated 2.1 billion tons of identified deposits remain in the ground, while undiscovered deposits are estimated to be around 3.5 billion tons.
During periods of high prices, users often turn to aluminum and other substitutes replacing copper in radiators, cooling and refrigeration tubes, electrical equipment and power cables. Optical fiber can be used as a copper replacement in telecommunication equipment, while plastic is a replacement in pipes and plumbing.