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Falling copper prices could draw out bargain shoppers

Keywords: Tags  copper, comex, LME, copper prices, London Metal Exchange, warehouse stocks, Everdeen Mason

NEW YORK — Copper prices hit a 1.5-month low June 18, but sources expect that to turn around later in the week when buyers start looking to purchase low-cost copper.

The July Comex contract, the most actively traded, has been dropping steadily since May to settle at $3.155 per pound June 18. That’s the lowest settlement since May 2 when the contract finished at $3.102 per pound.

One reason for the decline is the strength of the U.S. dollar against the euro, which puts downward pressure on commodities in general, one metals broker said. China’s economy is also slower than some would have liked, causing some uncertainty in the market, he added.

However, it appears as though copper prices have hit bottom, which could cause "bargain shoppers" to buy up the discounted copper, he said.

But for now, business is very slow for traders.

"The market dipping like this reflects that business just isn’t very good," a copper trader said.

According to the metals broker, London Metal Exchange stockpiles have seen heavy increases, indicating that demand is very weak.

LME-approved warehouses held 632,150 tonnes of copper globally as of June 17, up from 609,200 tonnes June 10, according to LME data. U.S. stocks, however, have been slowly decreasing for weeks. Copper stocks in U.S. warehouses dropped to 197,925 tonnes June 14 from 203,200 tonnes in May.

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