There are two very different ways of looking at copper in the first month of the New Year. Based a review of monthly average prices over a protracted period of time, the optimist sees January as a buying opportunity. Indeed, a brief glance at the average price of copper for each month from 2000 –2018 shows the average for the entire period is $2.41. And when you rank each month of the year during this time period by its average copper price, January has the lowest monthly average by a wide margin.
That means for an optimist looking to buy copper based on historical records, January is the month to do so. On the other hand, the pessimist who may have gone long copper in April or July may be concerned about holding their positions into the New Year, with potentially lower market values. To make things just a bit more complicated, and going further back in time, since 1970, the month of January was the highest month of each year nine times, but was the lowest of all the years 16 times. That said, we’ve been warned about using averages many times, and are reminded of the poor guy who drowned, when crossing a river that was “on average” just three feet deep. Further, my friend Fred, who likes to quote Mark Twain, cautions us that there are three kinds of lies -- lies, damn lies and statistics.
Putting all that aside for a moment, we may be facing a more important question soon: If global growth slows, and correspondingly, demand for copper and other industrial metals eases, what impact might a weaker dollar have on prices?
A frequent contributor to Electrical Marketing and Electrical Wholesaling, John Gross is publisher of The Copper Journal and one of the nation's leading experts in metals pricing. If you would like to learn more about how to manage your wire and cable inventory in this volatile market environment, email John at by clicking here or call him at 631-824-6486.