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Delayed copper ETFs hindering prices: AFund

Keywords: Tags  copper, exchange-traded funds, ETFs, AFund, JPMorgan, BlackRock, Henry Weingarten, Andrea Hotter

NEW YORK — The delay in launching physical copper exchange-traded funds (ETFs) has played a part in hindering the metal’s advance, president Henry Weingarten of AFund Inc. says.

Weingarten’s company, which is active in gold, silver and copper, had expected JPMorgan Chase & Co. and BlackRock Inc.’s respective ETFs to have been trading by now.

"We’d expected the physical copper ETFs to be a main driver (of prices), but there’s still no trading," he said at the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration’s mining finance conference in New York. "We’ll stay long copper until two weeks after the ETFs are up and running and then we’ll get out."

The two ETFs have received approval from U.S. regulators, but those decisions are being challenged in the Washington Court of Appeals by major copper consumer Southwire Co., Carrollton, Ga.

Copper’s biggest stumbling block to higher prices is the fact that the world economy isn’t performing as strongly as had been expected, according to Weingarten.

Copper prices are often viewed as a proxy for economic growth due to the metal’s use in housing and construction.

"We’ll start to see an improvement (in the global economy) in the second half of 2015," he said. "We’re not bearish for copper, but we’re not bullish, either."

The strength of the U.S. dollar is overall negative for the metals complex, Weingarten said.

"The yen is not an alternative—the dollar is showing relative strength against other currencies because it’s the best of a bad lot," he added.

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