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Copper spread spikes to record in latest sign of tight supply

The latest signal that global inventories are running critically low.
Image: Bloomberg

Short term spreads on London copper contracts surged to a record in the latest signal that global inventories are running critically low.

Copper contracts expiring in one business day’s time traded at a $175 premium to those maturing a day later, blowing past previous peaks seen during other short-term supply squeezes over recent years. That’s the biggest backwardation in data going back to 1998. The premium was just $1 at the close on Monday.

Freely available inventories on the London Metal Exchange have plunged by more than 75% over the past two months after a surge in orders to withdraw metal from warehouses in Europe. And with stockpiles also falling fast on rival bourses and in private storage, physical traders say they’re firmly bullish on the fundamental outlook for the metal, even as macroeconomic headwinds loom.

© 2021 Bloomberg

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