Copper is a key industrial input. It’s used in everything from construction to computers. For this reason some professional traders use the copper price as a barometer of global industrial sentiment. And global copper markets are giving a strong signal right now.

This weekly chart of the copper price over the last four years shows it breaking through a resistance level at US $2.84 a pound. This break is significant as since last May $2.84 snuffed out all previous copper price rises. In addition, the break comes after the completion of a “W” pattern, a special form of a double bottom pattern. This combination of factors is pointing to further significant gains for copper prices.

But it’s not just copper. Iron ore prices were boosted by the tragedy at competitor Vale’s Brazilian mine, but were already well off lows. Oil prices appear to have bottomed, and last week echoed copper’s moves higher.

What does this mean for markets? For starters it suggests it’s not too late to buy resource stocks. There is no certainty in predicting the future, but the co-ordinated upswing in these key industrial commodities suggests the demand picture is stronger than the market narrative indicates. Resource stocks may continue to climb a wall of worry.

More importantly there are broader implications of these price moves. The Australia 200 index has climbed through the 6,100 level despite widespread scepticism. The better than expected demand scenario could be an important market driver, and may mean a test of the post GFC high at 6,373 is more likely than a drop below 6,000. 

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