HOTTER ON METALS: Cooling copper and the credibility challenge

The three-month copper contract is trading near record highs on the London Metal Exchange, cash prices are rising even faster, and inventories are descending toward zero. Try running a hedge book in those conditions.

It’s been a very real quandary facing the physical trade and industry, which awoke on Tuesday October 19 to find copper’s cash to November spread had flared to a backwardation of more than $1,010 per tonne. The spread has since moved back to near where it started 24 hours earlier, but the potential impact of that kind of price swing on the bottom line of a hedger is immense.
It’s one reason why the LME stepped in to impose a series of temporary measures designed to cool the market, including changing its lending guidance rules, limiting the backwardation and allowing deferred delivery of some positions.
The LME’s move comes as physical commodities merchant Trafigura finds itself in the spotlight amid allegations it had been responsible for a recent spate of copper warrant cancellations. Trafigura declined to comment.

To be clear: There’s absolutely nothing illegal...

Published

Andrea Hotter

October 19, 2021

22:36 GMT

New York