Commodities have soared on prospects for a post-coronavirus vaccine economic recovery. And copper is one of the best commodities to own in order to in the recovery of the global economy–and especially the growth in the Chinese economy–as the coronavirus pandemic recedes in 2021.
I already own Southern Copper (SCCO) in my Dividend Portfolio and First Quantum Minerals (FQVLF) in my Volatility Portfolio. Those stocks were up 56.83% and 77.64%, respectively, in 2020.
Tomorrow, January 6, I will add shares of Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold to my Jubak Picks Portfolio. The company is the largest producer of copper in the world.
Copper prices are extremely sensitive to increases (and declines) in economic growth because demand is so closely linked to the fortunes of the housing and manufacturing sectors.And don’t forget rising demand from electric vehicles.
After gaining 25.8% in 2020, copper began 2021 with 3-month copper futures closing at $3.55 a pound. That’s near the eight-year high of $3.64 a point hit in December 2020.
I don’t think that marks the top for copper in 2021. The International Monetary Fund projects that the global economy will grow by 5.2% in 2021 and that the Chinese economy will grow by 8.2% in the year. (The U.S. economy is likely to finish 2021 in expansion mode. The Purchasing Managers Index for Manufacturing crossed the 50 level that signals expansion in June and has remained above 50 for six straight months. The current surge in coronavirus infection is likely to mean a short-term fall in economic activity but the U.S. economy looks strong in 2021–assuming we can ever get vaccines distributed to the U.S. population.)
And the industry faces a scarcity of new development opportunities with a supply shortfall likely to push copper prices up in the year. (Supply from Chile, the world’s top producer, has been constrained by the coronavirus outbreak in the mining industry and labor disputes.)
Freeport reports earnings for the fourth quarter of 2020 on January 28. Analysts expect the company to report earnings of 32 cents a share, a big jump from the 2 cents a share reported in the fourth quarter of 2019. And there’s a good likelihood of a positive surprise. In the September quarter the company beat analyst estimates by 21%.
My target price for the shares is $34 a share.