Copper Diggers Dislodge Gold Peers


". . .copper miners around the world are making profits, at least on a cash cost at-the-mine basis."

It's been on the cards for more than a month, and on Friday, listed copper stocks overhauled the stock gains made by their peers in the gold group. A sampling of 93 copper stocks listed around the world, including 69 that rank as primary copper miners or developers have gained 141%, on a weighted average basis, over the past six months. Measured on the same basis, 247 listed gold stocks have gained 138% from trough prices seen during October and November 2008, when the world's self-described financial crisis appeared to be at its worst.

Copper prices have been on a rip; after collapsing from record highs of USD 4.08/lb in mid-2008 to USD 1.28/lb in December, prices have risen to just under USD 1.90/lb, a level at which close to 100% of copper miners around the world are making profits, at least on a cash cost at-the-mine basis. Gold bullion, on the other hand, has been wont to find itself vulnerable to downward price pressure as investor risk appetite increases in proportion to the perceptions that the heat is cooling on the "global financial crisis."

Copper purchases by China, by far the biggest market for the metal, have been showing signs of sustainable stability and indeed increases, and copper stocks around the world have been falling.

Investors have been switching heavily from listed gold to copper stocks for more than a month, although inflows to the gold grouping have remained positive over the period.

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