​Copper falls to new low

The copper price has fallen to a new four year low.

Last week the metal recorded a steady slump on the back of strikes and weak oil prices, according to Bloomberg.

It joined other metals in a slump downwards on Friday, with iron ore dropping below US$70 per tonne and new forecasts pinning a potential US$50 per tonne price low on the ferrous metal.

In New York on the Comex copper tumbled from the US$3 per pound mark it has sat around to US$2.85 per pound, the lowest point since mid-2010.

It fell six per cent in a single week, which is the largest decline since December 2011.

It is little surprise the metal is seeing poor performance, with investment in mining at 10 year lows and massive strikes at copper mines in Peru harming perception of the industry.

The forecast for the metal in the coming years is unlikely to be brighter.

According to IBISWorld re-search "industry revenue is forecast to grow at an annualised rate of 1.5 per cent over the next five years to US$7.1 billion in 2019/20".

"This reflects the combination of higher output levels, a weaker Australian dollar and higher US dollar prices.

"If the Australian dollar de-preciates against the US dollar, export demand increases and contracts will earn domestic players more revenue."

Speaking to BNP Paribas managing director energy and natural resources – investment banking Asia Pacific, David McCombe, he explained in the short term "copper will be coming off over 2015 through to 2017, but it will be moving up again to the back end of 2017."

Much of this is due to the "current imbalance because of higher supply, as there is around 23 million tonnes of supply but only about 22 million tonnes of demand".

"This will not be a massive move down, but this oversupply will hurt for some time."

ANZ head of economics corporate and commercial, Justin Fabo, added that "copper looks vulnerable enough to slip back through the US$7000 per tonne mark as we approach the normally quiet northern hemisphere summer".

"Operating rates at copper tube and pipe fabricators fell below 80 per cent mid-year, an indication that end-user demand is weak; we would be positioned for some further downside in the short-term."

Nickel and lead also saw a slump.

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