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Doubling Orders for Copper Signals Price Rally: Chart of the Day

Doubling Orders for Copper Supply Signal Rally
A worker inspects copper sheets stacked at the Public Procurement Service (PPS) Busan base warehouse in Busan, South Korea. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

A jump in orders to draw copper supplies from inventories may signal prices of the metal are set to rebound as construction demand climbs.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows that orders to move material out of warehouses monitored by New York’s Comex and the London Metal Exchange have more than doubled since the 2012 low on June 7. Prices have tumbled 14 percent since this year’s high on Feb. 9.

Orders are rising amid signs of a recovery in U.S. home building and plans for infrastructure projects in other parts of the world, said William O’Neill, a partner at Logic Advisors. About 40 percent of global demand comes from construction materials including wire and pipe, the Copper Development Association estimates.

“The recent evidence suggests we’ve bottomed out in copper, and there’s evidence of growing tightness,” O’Neill said in a telephone interview from Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. The rise in orders “is a positive sign for the supply-demand equation.”

Futures for September delivery on the Comex slid 1.6 percent to $3.448 a pound last week. The price may rebound to $3.70 by the end of the year, O’Neill said.

New U.S. home construction rose in June to the highest level in almost four years, the Commerce Department said on July 18.

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