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Sen. Levin slams SEC’s copper ETF approval

Keywords: Tags  copper, ETFs, exchange-traded funds, Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock, Andrea Hotter

NEW YORK — The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s approval of JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s physical copper exchange-traded fund (ETF) is "misguided" and will cause higher copper prices and volatility, according to one elected official.

Sen. Carl Levin (D., Mich.), who wrote to the SEC in July to express his opposition to copper ETFs, said the impact on domestic business will be significant.

"The SEC’s approval of the copper ETF ... continues its misguided foray into commodities markets," he said. "Approval of this commodity-based security is a blow to American businesses and consumers that rely on copper for industrial machinery, plumbing, transportation, electric power generation and transmission, and electronics."

ETFs will be used to speculate in copper, Levin said. This will, in turn, "increase copper prices and volatility, and undermine market efforts to produce prices in response to supply and demand by copper users, not the supply and demand of speculators," he said. "I hope Congress will review this action and act to prevent excessive commodity speculation caused commodity-based ETFs."

The SEC is also considering a proposal by New York-based BlackRock Inc. to launch a physically-backed copper ETF, with a decision expected Monday.

Some key copper consumers are also opposed to copper ETFs.

The consortium—including Southwire Co., Carrollton, Ga.; Encore Wire Corp., McKinney, Texas; London-based Luvata UK Ltd.; and AmRod Corp., Newark, N.J., along with metals-focused hedge fund RK Capital Management LLC, London—hired a lawyer to lobby against the ETFs. The four copper companies represent about 50 percent of the copper fabricating industry in the United States.

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