It’s been a wild ride for copper this week.
According to Millie Munshi and Anna Stablum of Businessweek, copper plunged 6.4% on Monday as investors worried that European finance ministers would impose austerity measures to improve the financial situation of the European Union. On Tuesday, the finance ministers assuaged those concerns by vowing to impose measures only on countries with high deficits such as Spain and Portugal. [Silver ETFs: Always a Bridesmaid.]
By Friday, the metal was trading up as much as 3.5% to its highest level in three months. What’s with all the push-pull? Blame it on a mix of conflicting economic news that’s showing both the good and the not-so-hot of the markets:
- The U.S. housing market is improving. Housing starts rose last month to the highest level since October 2008. Builders are among the biggest users of copper, putting about 400 pounds on average into a single home.
- Concerns about demand in China were assuaged later in the week as the country imported the second-largest amount of copper since last June.
Analysts caution that things could be touch-and-go with copper for awhile, though:
On the sell side of the trade, experts say that the financial situation in Europe and the slowdown of the Chinese economy have put an oversupply of copper on the market, reports Barani Krishnan of Reuters.