Chile: Copper prices remain broadly stable in April
Copper prices remained relatively stable throughout April, despite some volatility at the end of the month. In the last week of the month, prices hit a four-week high; they then plummeted a few days later to a one-month low. Copper prices averaged USD 3.10 per pound (equivalent to USD 6,843 per ton) in April, up just 1.0% from the previous month’s average of USD 3.08 per pound. Although April’s result reversed two consecutive months of decline in copper prices, softness observed since the beginning of 2018 persists. Nevertheless, copper prices were notably higher in April than in the corresponding month last year, increasing 20.4% year-on-year.
Trade war fears continued to weigh on the price of copper, as the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China—the two largest consumers of the red metal—continues to generate uncertainty in global commodity markets. Meanwhile, on the supply side, political risk has become a major concern, as resource-rich countries seek to tap into increased profits generated by mining companies. At the end of April, new environmental laws were introduced in Indonesia, while in Democratic Republic of Congo a new law entailing higher taxes for foreign mining companies was signed into law by the country’s president. These events have increased the risk of notable supply disruptions in the medium term, adding upward pressure to copper prices.