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Copper Price Forecast: US Dollar, FOMC, Miners to Dictate Red Metal Prices

Copper Price Forecast: US Dollar, FOMC, Miners to Dictate Red Metal Prices

Thomas Westwater, Analyst

Copper, US Dollar, FOMC, GDP, Miners, Production, Technical Outlook – Talking Points

  • US Dollar pullback pauses multi-month copper breakdown ahead of FOMC
  • Copper production unlikely to increase as miners squeezed by low prices
  • Copper prices susceptible to deeper losses if Flag pattern support breaks

Copper prices recorded their first weekly gain since May last week, and prices may extend higher if the US Dollar softens further. Still, the red metal is down nearly 10% this month as August approaches. Copper prices lost just over 20% from April to June, the largest quarterly drop in over ten years. Traders turned bearish on the metal as economic indicators across the United States, Europe and Asia worsened.

Are copper prices simply oversold at these levels, and are we seeing a relief rally? The pullback in the US Dollar explains some of the strength, as a weaker USD makes it cheaper for foreign buyers to purchase the metal, which is traded largely in the US currency. If so, this week’s FOMC meeting and the second-quarter US GDP print may influence prices. An overly hawkish Fed or weaker-than-expected GDP figure could spur USD strength through safe-haven flows. That would likely weigh on copper prices.

Another point to consider is China’s economic situation since the East Asian giant is the world’s biggest copper consumer. Economic expectations turned overwhelmingly bearish in the first half of 2022, weighed down by Covid lockdowns and a fragile property sector. But those expectations may have bottomed out, and Chinese policymakers look ready to provide more support to meet growth targets in the coming months.

The production targets for copper miners are also telling. Freeport-McMoRan Inc., one of the largest public copper miners, posted a disappointing earnings report last week. The steep price drop weighed on the company’s fiscal position despite healthy demand and a tightly supplied market. CEO Richard Adkerson stated that the copper market remains tight on a call with investors. He added that new mining ventures are unlikely, given low prices. Assuming demand remains healthy, that would keep the physical market tight and perhaps lead to higher prices. Rio Tinto, a major Anglo-Australian mining company, is set to report results later this week.

Copper Technical Outlook

A bearishFlag pattern has taken shape over the past several weeks following months of declines with nearly no interruption. That suggests prices may continue to fall if the Flag’s support line breaks. Meanwhile, prices are trading just below the 20-day Simple Moving Average as the MACD and RSI oscillators improve. Overall, the chart is slightly bearish.

Copper Daily Chart

copper price

Chart created with TradingView

--- Written by Thomas Westwater, Analyst for DailyFX.com

To contact Thomas, use the comments section below or @FxWestwateron Twitter

DailyFX provides forex news and technical analysis on the trends that influence the global currency markets.

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