A storm’s about to hit the global copper market, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which forecasts that the price may slump to $4,000 a metric ton over 12 months as mine supply picks up, producers enjoy lower costs and demand growth softens.
“Company guidance and our estimates suggest that copper is entering the eye of the supply storm,” analysts including Max Layton and Yubin Fu wrote in an e-mailed report received on Friday. A drop to $4,000 would be a 17 percent slump from Thursday’s close on the London Metal Exchange.
Copper has lagged gains seen in other raw materials so far this year, especially zinc and nickel, which have benefited from forecasts for global shortages. For copper, there’s been solid growth in global mine supply in the first half and that trend is expected to pick up in the coming quarters, according to Goldman.
“This ‘wall of supply’ is expected to translate into higher copper smelter and refinery charges and ultimately, higher refined-copper production, set against softening demand growth,” Layton and Fu wrote. The metal is seen at $4,500 a ton in three months and $4,200 in six, they said, reiterating targets.
Copper for delivery in three months — which last traded below $4,000 a ton in 2009 — was at $4,844 on the LME at 2:12 p.m. in Singapore, heading for a weekly loss.
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