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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Copper prices expected to rise to new highs

Copper prices are scaling new highs this year. On Monday, they surged to a record US$10,160 a tonne. And although prices fell by about 1 per cent in London on Tuesday after China raised interest rates, some analysts expect the base metal to hit the US$11,000 per tonne mark by December this year.

Major infrastructure projects in countries such as China and Brazil are key drivers for increased copper demand. And analysts say demand is not about to ease any time soon.

Yingxi Yu, VP, Commodities Research, Barclays Capital, said: "Copper stands out from the other base metals in a sense that the supply side is most constrained. The supply side has been lagging behind demand growth for a very long time.

And we do not see any reason to turn much more optimistic on the mines supply of copper anytime soon. "China has been in the driving seat of base metal demand for a very long time now and it's still growing at a double-digit pace. We estimate that Chinese copper demand grew by about 15 per cent last year. It will slow to seven per cent in 2011, but it's still a huge amount in tonnage terms."

China remains the world's largest copper consumer, accounting for about 40 per cent of the market.

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