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The copper barometer

Copper is more than an important industrial metal. Used in everything from construction to computers, increasing demand for copper can parallel an upswing in industrial activity. Traders and investors may use copper prices as an indicator of global industrial sentiment.

The weekly chart above shows copper has traded a range between $2.95 and $3.30 since August last year. It trended gently up until November, then down until recently. While not an exact match, these moves echoed, and in some cases preceded, share market moves. In the second last week of January copper swung wildly, and alert market watchers may have heeded this change as a signal of the coming increase in stock volatility and the consequent sell down in February.

The MACD at the bottom of the chart shows neagtive momentum for most of 2018. Now the selling momemntum is slowing, and a cross of the black line over the red is a positive technical signal. This week's candle is showing a higher low and higher high (at this stage). If this develops into an uptrend, and trades up through $3.30, it can be interpreted as a response to a healthier global industrial outlook, in keeping with stronger recent PMIs and jobs data around the world.

This is still a developing possibility. However if it plays out as I suspect, I'll take it as a sign to increase share exposures, and tilt my portfolio further towards growth.


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