U.S. President Donald Trump signed off on a phase-one trade deal with China on Dec. 13 to avert a planned new round of tariffs on US$160 billion of consumer goods. The news sent copper rallying to a several-month high of over US$6,170 per tonne (US$2.80 per lb.), and generated renewed optimism for the red metal’s fundamentals heading into 2020.
Consensus forecasts for copper are guardedly bullish heading into next year. Along with most of the base metal suite, copper struggled in 2019 largely due to global trade war concerns and muted global industrial activities that consume the metal. Prices dropped to multi-year lows of US$2.53 per lb. in early September and the metal has not seen US$3.00 per lb. since mid-2018.
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