Copper upturn proves fleeting; markets await Trump speech

The Comex copper price returned to negative territory in early trading on Wednesday January 11 but remains in a tight range, with market participants standing pat ahead of Donald Trump’s press conference.

Copper for March delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange edged 0.3 cents or 0.1% lower to $2.6055 per pound.

Gold for February delivery was recently at $1,184.60 per oz, down 90 cents or 0.1%. Earlier this morning, the price touched $1,191.50 per oz, its highest since November 29.

Yesterday, the base metals broadly surged amid strong US and Chinese data. There is also optimism of future supply-side disruptions – wage negotiations at Chile’s Escondida mine are at an impasse. 

“From a fundamental perspective, we think that the tightness in the concentrate market will spill over in the refined market, which should result in a drop in visible inventories,” Metal Bulletin analyst Boris Mikanikrezai said.

“But there are no tangible signs of tightness in the refined market yet and speculative positioning is already fairly bullish so we are cautiously optimistic,” he added.

Later today, US president-elect Donald Trump will hold a press conference ahead of his inauguration on January 20. A lack of clarity about his future policies has pushed market participants to the sidelines.

“A number of market participants are likely to have been positioning themselves ahead of the press conference that Donald Trump has announced for today,” Commerzbank said. “The market hopes that Trump will paint a clearer picture of his planned economic, trade and foreign policy.”

Also providing support is the London Metal Exchange’s commitment of traders report for the week ending January 6, which showed that, while money manager activity has been quiet, gross short positions generally remained low.

“Speculative financial investors on the LME began the New Year in highly optimistic mood and have left their net long positions – most of which are at a relatively high level – largely unchanged,” Commerzbank added.

In US data, crude oil inventories are scheduled for release later.

In European equities, Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC-40 were up 0.3% and 0.1% respectively, while the dollar strengthened by 0.4% to 1.0514 against the euro.

In other commodities, West Texas Intermediate light sweet crude oil futures on the Nymex rose 0.6% to $52.00 per barrel and Comex silver for March delivery was 0.5% lower at $16.770 per oz.

(Editing by Mark Shaw)