Copper’s outlook under threat as economic risks pile up

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Copper fell as much as 2.3% Monday on the London Metal Exchange, the most in a month, as commodities tumbled alongside US equities on increasing worries that Federal Reserve interest rate hikes will plunge the economy into a recession. The red metal is down 4.4% this year after soaring more than 25% in each of the previous two years.

Still, Davidson said copper’s long-term demand outlook remains intact—boosted by consumption in industries such as electric vehicles and clean-energy technologies.

“The green energy story should contribute significantly, adding additional 2 million tons of copper demand by 2030,” Davidson said during her talk at the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada mining conference.

CRU’s latest forecast calls for global copper demand to rise 2.1% per year to 28.5 million metric tons by 2030, according to Davidson’s presentation. Copper usage from green energy is expected to account for 20% of total consumption by 2040, up from just 2% in 2015, she said.

“Without demand from green energy transition, global copper consumption will start to plateau around 2027 at around 25 million tons,” Davidson said.

(By Yvonne Yue Li)