Chile: Copper prices keep rising in March
Copper prices continued to rise in March, boosted by strong global manufacturing activity and despite easing supply concerns. On average, prices for the red metal came in at USD 8,988 per ton (equivalent to USD 4.01 per pound), up from January’s USD 8,471 per ton (USD 3.84 per pound). Moreover, prices were 73.4% higher than in the same month last year.
March’s gains were fueled by the announcement of U.S. President Biden’s USD 2 trillion infrastructure plan. Moreover, strong manufacturing PMI readings globally and a continued expansion in copper usage, as indicated by IHS’ copper PMI, pushed prices further up. On the other hand, the wage deal struck between workers and major Chilean copper producer Codelco, which avoided a potential strike at its Radomiro Tomic mine, likely moderated the increase in prices somewhat as it eased supply concerns.
Going forward, copper prices are projected to decline notably this year due to improving supply conditions, especially in South America, although the projected fall should be partly tempered by strengthening demand for electric vehicles and green-energy projects.