Copper trading reflected on the Comex in the closing months of 2016 continued a gradual rising trend. Volatility and uncertainty will likely characterize the red metal’s market moving into 2017, though conditions seem to indicate steady increases will continue.

Goldman Sachs is slightly bullish on copper’s prospects for 2017. Analysts issued a forecast predicting prices to average around $2.63 per pound ($5,800 per ton on the LME) during the first quarter, rising to $2.81 ($6,200) in the next quarter before dropping back to $2.54 ($5,600). They expect global demand to grow by 2.2% in 2017, while mine production drops 0.4%.

The global refined copper market for September 2016, showed an apparent production deficit of around 15,000 metric tonnes (t), although when seasonally adjusted, the tally showed a production surplus of about 25,000 t. The refined copper balance for the first nine months of 2016, including revisions to data previously presented, indicates a production deficit of around 84,000 t (and a seasonally adjusted deficit of about 29,000 t). This compares with a production deficit of around 28,000 t (a seasonally adjusted surplus of about 34,000 t) for the same period of 2015. Goldman Sachs analysts are forecasting a refined copper supply deficit of about 180,000 t in 2017.

Copper pipe and tube imports were assessed preliminary antidumping duties of 1.93% and 6.5% on Mexican affiliates of China's Golden Dragon Copper Tube Group in a December ruling by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) after a yearly administrative review. The review was requested by domestic copper-pipe and -tube producers Cerro, Wieland and Mueller.