Copper cathode delivered premiums steady

NEW YORK — Copper cathode delivered premiums held steady as business remains sluggish despite higher demand, according to traders.

AMM’s delivered premiums for copper cathode remain at 6 to 8 cents per pound, down from 7 to 9 cents per pound a month ago.

"There’s no real change or business," one trader told AMM. "It’s kind of dead. Some years we don’t get like this, but this year it’s more than the typical summer doldrums."

Business should start picking up again in the second half of August, he said.

Other traders have switched their focus to copper scrap.

"It’s mostly because of the freight costs of copper," a second trader said. "It’s cheaper to go into China than it is to go into the U.S."

High demand in China, the wall slide at Kennecott Utah Copper’s Bingham Mine in April and the allure of warehouse incentives have shrunk the amount of spot copper available for domestic consumers, a third trader said.

The London Metal Exchange’s U.S.-based warehouses held 215,400 tonnes of copper on July 23, up 2 percent from a month ago.

Despite demand, many consumers have enough material to last through the summer through contracts, a copper consumer source said.

While business is slow, wire mills have the most chance of rebounding.

"Some of the wire mills are doing better, but they’re going to thinner wire, which uses less copper," a fourth trader said. "It’s probably very good for the wire users."

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