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Copper cathode premiums decline

Keywords: Tags  copper cathode, delivered premiums, comex, london metal exchange, Everdeen Mason

NEW YORK - Copper cathode delivered premiums have fallen as summer shutdowns and low demand have slowed the market significantly.

AMM’s spot copper premium fell to between 6 and 8 cents per pound July 10 from 7 to 9 cents previously. There were reports of some sales at slightly higher numbers at the end of last week, but the majority of business this week was said to have moved into the new range of between 6 and 8 cents.

“Some people are shut down or just barely coming back (from shutdown) so there’s no rush to get material,” a trader said. “It’s kind of dead. There’s not very much activity.”

Other trader and consumer sources said they hadn’t been in the market for weeks because of slow activity.

“We haven’t done anything in the U.S. market for a while. We weren’t making money on it,” a second trader said.

Sources say demand for copper cathode is low, and queues at the London Metal Exchange-approved warehouses are long.

A third trader said he has only been able to get material out of St. Louis, as the queue in New Orleans is too long. U.S. copper stock in LME warehouses has slowly increased over the last month.

Copper stocks in LME-registered warehouses totalled 214,875 tonnes, according to the LME’s latest report on July 9, up from 212,550 tonnes on July 2 and 210,575 tonnes on June 25. Meanwhile, global stock has decreased from 671,100 tonnes of copper cathode at the end of June to 646,000 tonnes on July 9.

There may be some remaining pockets of demand, a third trading source argued.

“Part of it is people can’t get their hands on scrap so some manufacturers had to restock on (copper cathode) because they were running out of scrap,” he said.

Copper prices have risen but are still lower than they were in the beginning of June. Comex copper prices for September, the most actively traded contract, settled at $3.1775 per pound on July 11. Before the July 4 holiday, prices settled at $3.1745 per pound on July 3, then dropped to $3.0650 per pound on July 5. A month before that, prices were $3.3715 per pound.

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