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Copper and silver price increases bode well for economic recovery

4/9/2021: Wire buyers, manufacturers and investors who are planning for the upcoming year should see price spikes in wire and cable, specifically copper and silver, which is a healthy sign for the U.S. economy.

After the Covid-19 manufacturing slump, companies continue to ramp up. The pent-up demand for wire and cable reflects what should be a manufacturing boom. Other reasons include coronavirus vaccine roll-outs helping more people return to business as usual, China’s manufacturing recovery after the pandemic and President Biden’s American Jobs Plan infrastructure proposal that includes green initiatives such as electric cars and clean energy.

Once upon a time, the price of copper was talked about in pounds, and there were long periods when it was generally stable at about a dollar. Today, though, most of the world follows the price of copper by the metric ton, and it has been far from stable in recent years. Per MetalMiner, the price rose from $4,371 per metric ton in March 2020 to $8,631 in February 2021. Spurring the increase is China ramping up manufacturing and the need for copper in renewable energy products, electric vehicles, telecommunications, construction and transportation.

Yet where copper prices go from here is not so simple. It depends on who you listen to. One school of thought is that prices may not remain bullish. The initial rise in prices may fall back by year-end, once the supply crunch for copper rebounds with added production and orders being filled. But the view from the Trafigura Group, the world’s largest copper trader, is that copper prices could top $10,000 a metric ton this year, and as much as $15,000 a metric ton in the coming decade as demand from global decarbonization produces a deep market deficit.

Silver is another metal on the rise. It is used to plate copper in PTFE-insulated wiring conductors, but much demand stems from vast industrial demand for solar panels, the global roll out of 5G technology and jewelry production. The Silver Institute, a sterling organization, predicts that the price of silver, which rose from $16.19 per ounce in 2019 to $20.52 per ounce in 2020, could rise by 46% to a seven-year high of $30. Another cause in the spike in prices was a Reddit social media post encouraging a short squeeze on silver. The increase in silver prices will likely impact the rest of the wire and cable supply chain.

Read 799 times Last modified on April 9, 2021