Copper prices headed up sharply on the Comex with barely a pause in November — a rally few, if any, predicted. 

After closing October at $2.20 per pound, copper reached a high of $2.67 on November 25 before sagging a bit in the month’s last few trading days, ending at $2.62 per pound on November 30. That’s still a long way from copper’s all-time Comex high of $4.58 in February 2011.

Volatility may characterize the copper market in the weeks and months ahead. Carol Cowan, a senior VP with Moody’s Investors Service, states the recent uptick in metal pricing is not sustainable. Analysts at Barclays believe it will decrease in 2017. Stimulus and infrastructure spending proposed by President-elect Trump will help metal prices, although his negative stance on trade with Mexico will likely hurt them.

China consumes half of the world’s copper, but its demand will not outpace the current surplus of 180,000 tons. Some industry insiders believe copper prices over the next six months will be similar to those through most of 2016, not including November.