Copper seems to be trying to break out to the upside. Now, when the US economy is just entering recession? There are three explanations that come to mind:
- The United States' economy is no longer the world's economy. The four largest growing economies are the BRIC nations: Brazil, Russia, India and China. They accounted for 40% of global growth in 2007, and they don't need America for much these days. BRIC nation exports to the US have become relatively small portions of their economies. Brazil only 3%, Russia only 1%, India only 4%, and China only 8%. 95% of Chinese economic growth came from internal domestic demand, as wealth has grown from actual work in factories (source: Hat Trick Letter).
- Copper smells hyper inflation coming. Copper is not be a precious metal, but it is priced in dollars. If you need copper to do your job or produce something, you might want to stock up. The problem that all global commodity markets are priced in dollars. Does anyone really know what the dollar is worth today (and what it will be worth next month)? And if it is hard to value the dollar, how would you ever be able to correctly price copper?
- Copper production might have peaked. This is part of the “Peak Everything” theory. I don't know if this is true, actually. Copper was predicted by some to peak in 08, but the latest numbers don't bear that out, so we'll see. I still think all commodity production is ultimately linked to the availability of energy.