FOCUS: What do sinking China premiums say about copper's bull price rally?

It seems that copper's biggest market has soured on the metal. Premiums paid over exchange prices for copper cathodes imported into China have fallen in recent weeks, dropping to a five-month low in a decline that shows no signs of slowing down.

Fastmarkets’ benchmark copper grade-A cathode ER premium, cif Shanghai was at $40-48 per tonne on Wednesday April 14, a five-month low.
Falling premiums for copper cathode come at what is traditionally the start of a peak demand season for refined copper in China, leaving market participants in the region questioning whether the low levels signal demand for the metal is weaker than exchange prices, now at decade-highs, would indicate.
Goldman Sachs is the latest bank to turbocharge its forecast for the copper price, with its analysts expecting the metal to hit $11,000 per tonne in the next year if a global shift to less carbon-intensive energy creates a demand surge for the conductive metal.
Short term, however, China buyers have been less bullish, Fastmarkets heard.

“This year our orders are recovering slowly and there's a lag in our inventory needs so we’re not keen to buy cathode at such...


Archie Hunter

Sally Zhang

April 19, 2021

11:52 GMT

London, Shanghai