Ingredients there for good copper 'stew'

THE combination of robust demand and potential supply issues has led US investment firm Bernstein to conclude copper prices could soar by 37% in the next four years.
Ingredients there for good copper 'stew' Ingredients there for good copper 'stew' Ingredients there for good copper 'stew' Ingredients there for good copper 'stew' Ingredients there for good copper 'stew'

Bernstein estimates copper prices could rise 37% by 2024

Tom Hoskyns

In a report released on Monday, Bernstein forecast copper prices would average US$8100/tonne in 2024, up from an estimated average of $5900/t in 2020.

Copper closed at a 26-month high of $6814.50/t overnight.

Bernstein pointed to 10 factors underpinning copper demand, including recent stimulus programs, the electric vehicle revolution, and greening of electricity. The firm coupled its bullish demand thesis with 11 reasons why copper supply may disappoint, which ranged from the scarcity of the metal, lower grades and lengthening lead times for mine development.

"What makes for a good commodity stew? A dollop of demand strength. A sprinkle of supply concerns. A rising cost curve. Minimal threats from alternatives," said Bernstein.

"We see all these ingredients and more for the copper sector and are thus more bullish than both consensus commodity forecasts and the forward curve."

Bernstein has published a number of bullish reports on copper in recent memory. In October 2019, the firm said copper prices would need to hit US$20,000/t by 2025 to achieve total decarbonisation by 2025 - a pathway espoused by environmentalist Greta Thunberg. Another Bernstein report in December 2019 said prices would have to move significantly higher for new copper mines to come onstream.