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Copper premiums flat, but may get boost from scrap

Keywords: Tags  Copper premiums, copper cathode, Comex, Saranya Kapur

NEW YORK — Muted market activity left copper premiums unchanged late this past week as both demand and supply activity remained low, but there could be upward pressure on premiums as insufficient supply in the scrap market runs off into cathode.

The premium on copper cathode remained at 6.5 to 7.5 cents per pound April 10.

The May-delivery Comex copper contract, the most actively traded, has remained flat since March 28. It was up by a third of a cent, settling at $3.045 per tonne April 10.

“Stocks are going into exchanges and consumer buying has not been as brisk,” said one trader. “There isn’t much business to be done; I’m only doing small loads of 300 to 400 tons.”

The export market also remains quiet, and traders polled did not see any demand coming out of China.

However, there could be an upward momentum on premiums as shortages in the copper scrap market begin to impact the cathode market.

“Scrap is not as available as it was when the price was over $3,” said another scrap trader. “People are going to have to resort to cathode.”

“Since scrap isn’t available, people are buying some off-grade cathode,” said one cathode consumer. “I think once the grade two cathode is gone, then there will be more demand on cathode.”

One trader described the market as “very disappointing.” “It’s nearly May and things still haven’t picked up,” he said. “Everybody’s just waiting for the market to move back up.”

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