Vaccine Breakthrough Prompts Uptick in Copper Prices

The price of copper increased last week, reaching a new record after breakthrough reports on the coronavirus vaccine from Moderna and Pfizer. The copper price for delivery (December) on the Comex market increased by 3.1% to $7,176 per ton. If copper closes at any price higher than $3.30, it would mark the highest level since January 2014.

On the London Metal Exchange, the price of this valuable metal increased to $7,207.50 per ton, roughly a 1.6% surge, the greatest amount since 2018 (June).  The vaccine is said to be 95% effective. BioNTech SE and Pfizer are planning on filing for emergency use, which would allow the vaccine to be used in America in the coming month.

The development of a coronavirus vaccine, China’s recoiling growth and copper’s eighth month in a row increasing in price indicates an increase in demand. Saxo Bank head of commodity strategy, Ole Hansen, states that the vaccine news has driven recovery hopes higher, especially where demand is already strong, with a focus on nations outside China.

However, while the infections of coronavirus increase globally, the fear of vaccine supply disruptions also grows, which is improving earnings.

Last weekend, the huge protests seen across Lima, the capital of Peru, and the political chaos brought the country’s currency to a new low. Experts warn that further unrest may only destroy whatever progress has been made in the fight against COVID-19 in Peru. The country has a population of 32 million people and among the highest per-person rates of death from the coronavirus.

Behind Chile, Peru is the second biggest producer of copper in the world. BMO Capital Markets stated in a note that the turmoil in Peru may result in issues for concentrate logistics for not only copper but other metals as well if the situation surges.

Over in Chile, operations remain at a standstill as mine workers at the Lundin’s Candelaria go into their second month of a strike. In the Centinela Antofagasta Minerals’ copper mine, the workers’ union is working on a vote for a contract offer. However, representatives say that the union is probably going to reject the offer, which may result in a strike there as well.

Edward Mier, analyst at ED&F Capital, stated in an interview with Bloomberg that as coronavirus cases rise, it is expected that more restrictions will not be far behind. That concern is fueling the supply increase, with many fearing that mining operations may again be stopped.

Pandemic or no pandemic, the leading mining industry players are going ahead with their development and extraction activities. One such entity is Josemaria Resources Inc. (OTCQB: JOSMF) (TSX: JOSE). The company is currently concentrating on its fully-owned copper as well as gold extraction project located in Argentina (San Juan Province).

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