The value of copper on metals exchange markets around the world dropped steadily in late June and early July, with some analysts indicating investment fund managers have soured on the red metal. A rebound the weekend of July 7-8 seemed to reverse copper’s downward momentum. However, the metal was losing value again as the end of the month approached.

In notes accompanying his July 2 Copper Journal Weekly Report, John E. Gross of Long Island, New York-based J.E. Gross & Co. Inc. writes that in a three-week span in mid- and lateJune, “Copper has fallen 34 cents, or 10 percent, from its recent high.”

A July 4 online article by Andy Home of Reuters says the low price reached by London Metal Exchange (LME) copper occurred in part because “funds have been slashing their exposure to copper.”

Home points to figures collected by Denmark-based Saxo Bank that found such fund managers were net sellers of 19 of the 24 most widely traded commodities in the final week of June. “Tariffs and escalating trade tensions have flipped the investor risk switch to off,” he writes.

Gianclaudio Torlizzi of Milan-based T-Commodity refers to copper as “the worst performer among metals” in recent weeks.

Beyond trade tensions, Home says copper has further suffered from skepticism as to the actual growth occurring in China’s economy.

In addition to those demand concerns, he writes that global mined copper output grew by 7 percent in the first quarter of 2018 compared with the previous year.

In a July 6 email to his readers, Gianclaudio Torlizzi of Milan-based T-Commodity refers to copper as “the worst performer among metals” in recent weeks and says it is moving close to a perceived $6,200 per metric ton support level.

“The collapse of copper follows the one of emerging market currencies,” Torlizzi writes. “Beside the trade issue, the main culprit remains the modest reduction in [the United States Federal Reserve Bank] balance sheet and the small rate rise, which shows the extent of the imbalances built by many economies in the quantitative easing ‘lunacy’ years.”

As far as contrarian indicators, the LME copper price rallied in the July 7-8 trading period, regaining about $162 per metric ton (7.3 cents per pound) in value. Copper on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) also rebounded 1.1 percent in value over that weekend and in early Monday morning trading July 9, according to Reuters.

By July 18 long-term bulls emerged in the form of analysts from U.S.-based Citigroup Inc. According to another Reuters report, a duo of analysts predicted copper would rebound in the coming years, rising to average annual prices at $8,000 per metric ton in 2022 and more than $9,000 per metric ton by 2028.

The analysts contend the price of copper is bound to rise because “the metal is getting much more difficult and more expensive to mine,” Reuters reports.

While that may be the case longer term, copper pricing on the LME further declined in July. Home writes in a July 23 article for Reuters that the price of copper for three-month delivery fell below $6,000 per metric ton during the previous week for the first time since July 2017.

“The Wednesday low of $5,988 per [metric ton] marked a near 19 percent price implosion from June’s high of $7,348,” he adds.