Copper Prices Surge As China Stockpiles Amid Supply Concerns

China, the world’s largest copper importer, has been actively stockpiling the industrial metal in response to the growing demand driven by renewable energy, electric vehicles, and the rapidly expanding artificial intelligence sector. 

The recent surge in copper prices, which have risen by 38% year-over-year and reached a 14-month high of $5.20 per pound, can be attributed to China’s economic stimulus measures and the country’s pivotal role in the copper supply chain.

The Chinese Finance Ministry’s announcement of plans to issue 1 trillion yuan of ultra-long bonds for infrastructure investment has further fueled the demand for copper. The country is believed to have stockpiled over 500,000 metric tons of the metal since the start of the year, as per Steno Research, which represents a major shift in the long term trend. However, the global copper mining industry is facing a potential slowdown in the coming years due to underinvestment and disruptions in major copper-producing regions, particularly in Latin America.

Experts predict that the clean energy transition and the AI boom will continue to drive the demand for copper, with S&P Global forecasting that copper demand will double to 50 million metric tons by 2035. The United States, China, Europe, and India are expected to be the most significant contributors to this increased demand.

Despite the projected growth in worldwide copper production, which is expected to reach 30 million metric tons by 2036, this increase falls short of the anticipated surge in demand. The potential supply shortages, coupled with the growing demand, have led Bank of America to predict that copper prices will surge to $5.44 per pound by 2026, representing an additional 11% rally from the current price.

Information for this story was found via the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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