Copper Rebounds on Hopes for Economic Recovery

Originally, the company produced only foundry castings at the 106 East 20th Street plant, but expanded to producing machined parts in the 1920’s. A Machine Shop building was leased until 1969 when a new Machine Shop building was built at 401 West 23rd Street.

Copper prices rose Friday, extending a recent rebound with investors anticipating an uptick in demand as parts of the world roll back lockdown measures and trade tensions ease.

Front-month copper futures for May delivery rose 1% to $2.4085 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, recording a fifth consecutive climb and their best week since February 2019. Prices have recovered 14% from a multiyear low hit in late March, lifted by nascent optimism that demand will return as the Chinese economy revs up following an early year shutdown. Copper is still down 14% for the year.

Prices for the industrial metal are particularly sensitive to Chinese economic growth because China is the world’s largest commodity consumer. The country accounts for roughly half of global copper consumption. Demand for raw materials in China is perking up after plunging earlier in the year, and some analysts are looking ahead to a global economic recovery as the world reopens for business.

Those hopes have also lifted stocks and other commodities, including oil recently.

Risky investments got another boost Friday from a report from China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency that the top trade negotiators for the U.S. and China talked on the phone Friday, pledging to create favorable conditions for a recent phase-one trade deal.

The upbeat tone on trade came after data showing an April rise in Chinese copper imports. Still, many analysts remain cautious about the price recovery, with other major economies still largely frozen and manufacturing activity likely to stay muted.

“While the trade figures are encouraging, it remains to be seen how the trend shapes up in the months ahead and whether the bounce is sustainable,” said Edward Meir, a consultant focused on metals at brokerage ED&F Man Capital Markets, in a recent note.

Analysts also cautioned against reading too much into Friday’s moves because the London Metal Exchange was closed for a bank holiday. The exchange is the global hub for trading in industrial metals like copper, and much of the world’s base metals trading activity comes from London.

Traders were looking ahead to coming real-time indicators of economic activity to see if the recent rebound can continue. Job losses around the world continue to mount, with Friday figures showing the U.S. unemployment rate rose to a record 14.7% last month, the highest level in official data going back to 1948.

Elsewhere in commodities Friday, U.S. crude-oil futures for June delivery rose 5.1% to $24.74 a barrel, also recording a big weekly gain and continuing a recent recovery. Brent crude futures for delivery in July, the global gauge of oil prices, advanced 5.1% to $30.97 a barrel.

Write to Amrith Ramkumar at

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