Investing.com | Oct 02, 2019 17:04
Used in construction to power generation to circuity of cellphones and almost every electronic device, “Dr. Copper”—as the red metal is still fondly called by some commodity veterans—enables those who study it well the ability to “diagnose” a slowdown way before it arrives.
To those analysts, sliding prices of copper have been screaming “Recession!” well before the yield curve inversion in 10-Year and 2-Year Treasurys deepened earlier this year. Only that copper hasn’t got the attention it deserves, as there are more “exciting” metals like gold and palladium to consume investors’ interest these days.
In Tuesday’s trade, copper futures posted another decisive bottom after The Institute of Supply Management flagged U.S. factory activity at a 10-year low, underscoring a continued slowdown in the goods-producing sector.
Benchmark copper for December delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange’s Comex division slumped to a one-month low of $2.515 per lb on the ISM data. It did recover slightly before the close to settle at $2.5606, down 0.7% on the day.
To Eric Scoles, metals strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago, traders should not be taking their eyes off copper now as it is on the cusp of another breakdown that would point to an even more vulnerable state of the economy.
Said Scoles in a recent note:
“There is a support point at $2.483. If prices break below and close under this level, a major sell off is likely.”
“It’s also important to note there is a gap on the weekly chart from 2016, and as the old-adage goes: ‘The gap is meant to be filled’. For traders this could become a significant bearish opportunity; for those who deal in physical copper this could be the time to hedge.”
Investing.com’s Daily Technical Outlook has a “Strong Sell” call on copper, projecting a downside as low as $2.469 in the near-term.
Edward Meir, a veteran consultant for copper at INTL FCStone in New York, was quoted saying in the Wall Street Journal that the ISM data intensified worries about a broad U.S. economic slowdown, baked into copper prices.
The WSJ noted that other major economies have also experienced a slump in manufacturing, putting further pressure on copper, which is used to build everything from office buildings to electric vehicles.Added Meir:
“When you have every major manufacturing hub slowing down, metals consumption will suffer as a result.”
Scoles said copper hasn’t been been given its due attention lately as a foreteller of the economy:
“Typically, when discussing the likelihood of an oncoming recession and referencing futures markets, you will hear a whole lot about Treasurys spreads and yield curves. However, what has been standing out to me is the copper charts.”
“Why? Because copper represents construction, it represents industry, and its demand is strongly correlated with economic expansion and growth globally.”
Scoles said that if the developing chart pattern indicated the potential for copper prices to fall dramatically and for an extended period, it would not be because of an explosion in production, but rather the shriveling of demand.
“If economic expansion directly increases demand and drives the price of this commodity up, then what (will) push it down will likely be economic recession.”
To Scoles, Chinese demand was what has been driving copper in either direction, and fundamentals were supportive of a bear market in the metal unless the United States reached a trade deal with China in the near future.
He noted that the December copper futures chart indicated a market that could be stuck in a massive multi-year head-and-shoulders pattern forming between November 2016 and current day fluctuations.
That, according to him, shouldn’t be ignored:
“Dec. 19 copper is becoming wildly bearish from a technical perspective as the massive multi-year head and shoulders pattern on the weekly chart looks near complete.”
Written By: Investing.com
Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.
Get free real time quotes, charts and alerts on stocks, indices, currencies, commodities and bonds. Get free top of the line technical analysis/predictors.
More content, faster quotes and charts, and a smoother experience is available only on the App.