Copper Prices Are Imperiling Electrification And Decarbonization

Copper is the wiring connecting the present and future. It is also the global markets’ latest runaway. The growing supply-demand gap for copper is increasing volatility in markets to the point that buyers are seeking to secure long-term deals due to increased concerns about its availability. Copper prices have surged since they hit a low point in March 2020 as COVID hit. Low copper prices (58% decline from 2010 to 2016) helped spur and sustain investments and research in renewables, but they also reduced incentives for many copper manufacturers, including Broken Hill Proprietary, Freeport-McMoran, Glencore, and Southern Copper, to increase production levels. High copper prices could constrain electrification, including for transport, and emerging technologies, such as renewables.

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