NEW YORK U.S. spot copper
premiums weakened Jan. 30 in what most traders and consumers
described as an "eerily quiet" market.
AMMs spot copper
cathode premiums narrowed to a range of 5 to 6 cents per pound
from 5 to 6.5 cents previously.
Consumers stocked up late last
year and havent needed to purchase spot material yet,
"Some of our consumers told us
to give them a call in March to see how things are going. They
didnt seem too optimistic between now and then," one
A copper consumer who serves the
automotive, industrial, energy, consumer appliances and
electronics industries confirmed that hes got enough
material on hand, but expects things to pick up towards the end
of February and the beginning of March.
"Consumers came in prepared, and
really know what their downstream demand is (this year)," the
A second consumer did
participate in the spot market this week, purchasing 1 million
pounds at a premium of just under 5 cents per pound. "I just
picked up some (spot) metal. Its a strong sign to see
healthy levels this early in the year," he said in reference to
The copper will be used in
produce building wire, supporting analysts forecasts that
the U.S. construction market is due for a recovery this
While most traders and consumers
put the slow activity in the spot market down to the time of
year, others said the weakness is more exaggerated than
"Things are slower than you
would expect for this time of year. Its just awful right
now," a second trader said.
In addition, the approaching
Chinese New Year holiday means business has yet to take off in
the Far East, a third trader said. "Were in that time of
year when China becomes slower because of the holiday coming
up. Business is moderately slow. It isnt going down, but
its not going up very much."
Although forecasts for the
construction and automotive sectors indicate a better year for
copper, consumers likely will remain cautious about spot
purchases and buy metal only when they need it, sources
"We buy as we need," the second
"(Consumers are) still going to
be skittish and only order what they need. I dont think
anyone wants to be caught long," the first trader said.