Copper his an all month high on statements from the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang indicated that growth would not be allowed to fall below 7 percent. Growth fell from 7.7 percent in the first quarter of 2013, to 7.5 percent in the second quarter, and analysts feared it would fall past 7 percent in the third.
China is currently the world’s largest consumer of copper, and accounts for 40 percent of all worldwide usage.
There has been speculation from analysts that China’s construction boom might be waning, or in fact might collapse completely. Famous short seller Jim Chanos has been one of the most vocal bears on China, saying the country’s financial outlook closely resembles the early stages of the boom and bust Japan suffered in the 80s prior to that country’s extended recession, referred to as the country’s ”Lost Decade.”
Copper is building and expansion material, and worries in May that construction would slow stalled out prices. As T&K Futures & Co. President Mark Smith put it, “Any sign that demand in China might slip is going to hit copper.” And now, with reassurances that demand will continue to increase, copper has shot right back up.
While there is no indication Keqiang can follow through on his promise to grow 7 percent and hit the government benchmark, China has already acted to sustain high growth. On July 22 the country removed government-mandated minimums on lending rates.
Copper was further bolstered on news China would increase railway construction.
Global X Copper Miners ETF ($COPX) is up 3.63 percent to hit 9.42 a share. First Trust ISE Global Copper Index ($CU) was up 3.5 percent to hit $21.91 a share.
The largest copper ETF, and candidate for the longest name of an ETF, iPath Exchange Traded Notes Dow Jones – AIG Copper Total Return Sub-Index ETV Series A (JJC) had a more modest gain, with a 1.08 percent uptick to hit $39.47 a share.
Copper is currently $3.18 a pound, down 34 cents on the year.