The copper price rose on Tuesday alongside other industrial metals and oil as investors weighing up the impact of the omicron coronavirus variant on economic growth turned a little more bullish after two days of selling.
March delivery contracts were exchanging hands for $4.35 a pound ($9,570 a tonne) by midday on the Comex market in New York, up 1.4% compared to Monday's closing.
The copper price is still up around 20% in 2021, with low stockpiles and a positive long-term demand outlook likely to keep prices high, said independent analyst Robin Bhar.
"With inventories low, you don't really have a cushion in case there are any supply problems," he said, pointing to disruption at MMG's Las Bambas mine in Peru and the potential impact of the new government in Chile.
Japan's Pan Pacific Copper (PPC) expects copper’s average price to drop to $8,600 a tonne in 2022 from $9,300 this year as additional supply flows.
On-warrant copper stocks in LME-registered warehouses at 80,000 tonnes are up from a historic low of 14,150 tonnes in October but far below recent peaks.
Stocks in Shanghai Futures Exchange warehouses, at 34,580 tonnes, are the lowest since 2009, and inventories in Chinese bonded warehouses have plunged.
(With files from Reuters)