Transport costs plague US copper market, seen driving cathode premium

Common themes throughout the US economy are high and rising transportation and logistics costs. Those problems have been acute for the copper industry, leading to ever-rising premiums and questions on when the issue will be mitigated.

The confluence of increased regulations, difficulty finding truck drivers and costly fuel surcharges are all leading to spot rates increasing by up to 30% in certain locations.  As a result, US copper cathode premiums are once again poised for a move higher, with freight and fuel costs pressuring the entire supply chain and forcing producers to announce price increases. American Metal Market’s assessment of the US Midwest copper cathode premium was at 6-6.5 cents per lb on Tuesday June 12, unchanged since May 22 amid a lack of spot deals but still the highest level since August 2016. Still, multiple market participants are signaling that the current range isn't sustainable, especially with fuel costs continuing to rise.  At last glance, light sweet crude oil futures were trading at $66.52 per barrel, up 42% year on...

Published

Dalton Barker

June 15, 2018

21:17 GMT

Chicago