Current situation:

  • The Producer Price Index for copper tube and fittings was up 2.3% month-over-month (up 0.3% in the last update) and was down 7.5% year-over-year (down 16.7% Y/Y last month). 
  • Copper closed July 21 at $2.94 ($2.59 last month).


Key factors that could affect supply or price:

  • Prices (lb.):  1 year ago - $2.65; 6 months ago - $2.79; 30 days ago - $2.56; July 9 - $2.86; 12-month price range $2.87 high - $2.10 low.

Key factors driving pricing:  Strong Chinese demand, fears over mining disruption in Chile due to the pandemic, and very positive U.S. economic recovery.  

  • A bright spot continues in home improvement retail.  Advanced retail sales in the home improvement category remained higher than at any time since 2004.  Sales were up 17.3% Y/Y in June (up 16.4% last month).
  • Housing starts were sharply higher. Housing starts were at an annualized 1.186 million-unit rate (974k last month). They remain down from a 10-year high set in January of a 1.6 million unit pace. Starts were down 4.0% Y/Y on a national basis across both single and multifamily sectors. 
  • Crude oil prices continued to inch up with West Texas Intermediate trading at $41.90 in the August contract ($38.71 last month).  The number of active wells is still below decade lows, hovering at 253 (279 in the last update) in the U.S., which is down 701 from last year’s 954 active wells at this time.