Freeport Sees Copper Supply Gap Widening If Uncertainty Remains

Beckett Bronze produces cast bronze precision-machined parts and continuous cast bars. Castings are manufactured at the East 20th Street plant. The West 23rd Street plant produces finished machined parts and has about 75 machine tools including CNC lathes.

Trade tensions between China and the U.S. are driving down copper prices and prompting Freeport-McMoRan Inc. to slow plans for new large-scale investments.

Reduced spending on projects will add to the impending supply gap in copper markets, Chief Executive Officer Richard Adkerson told analysts Wednesday on the miner’s third-quarter earnings conference call. Notwithstanding the trade issues, the outlook for the metal at the largest publicly listed copper miner remains unchanged and long-term fundamentals are increasingly strong, he said.

“It is a paradox right now: physical markets are tight, fundamental drivers remain very positive and yet sentiment about the commodity and about companies like ours in the investor marketplace is what it is,” Adkerson said. Speculators are bearish about copper “due to macro-drivers, and this is having a significant impact on price.”

In the past, Adkerson has said Freeport — and most of the industry — need copper prices above $3 a pound to pull the trigger on new internal projects. Futures in New York have dropped about 16 percent this year and settled on Wednesday at $2.76.

— With assistance by Danielle Bochove

Over 100 Years Experience – Manufacturers of Bronze Bearings, Bushings, and Continuous Cast Bars Since 1913