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The big Cesco copper conference in Santiago, Chile, has been remarkably bullish considering worries about global economic growth and the Chinese economy.

That’s because there looks like a significant gap in the development of new supplies in 2019 and 2020 that could be sufficient to push up prices in 2021 and 2022 before new mines go into full operation in 2022 and 2023.

Copper prices have ranged from $2.55 to $3.38 a pound in the last 52-weeks. Copper on the Comex closed at $2.93, up 1.33% today.The trend in copper prices and the decision over who will make money from any supply shortfall is a matter of very tight timing. For example, Anglo American’s (AAUKF) Quellaveco mine in Peru will begin ramping up in 2002 and Tech Resources’s (TECK) expansion of its Quebrada Blanca mine in Chile will start production in 2021.The chief beneficiary of this timing–at least as the calendar looks now–is First Quantum Minerals (FQVLF). That company’s new Cobre Panama mine started production this year.

I think you’re still going to have to be patient with copper stocks. Not everyone is convinced that supply will indeed lag demand by enough to push copper prices significantly higher. For example, CRU Group, which runs the main conference during CESCO, expects copper prices of $2.83 a pound at the end of 2019. The metal will remain essentially unchanged in price until 2023 when it will reach $3.30. On the other hand, Morgan Stanley sees a deficit of 406,000 tons in 2019 and sees prices climbing above $3 a pound by the end of 2019.

Which forecast turns out to be closer to the mark large depends on China. China is the world’s largest buyer of copper and it consumed more than half of 2018 copper production.

In my long-term 50 Stocks Portfolio I own shares of Southern Copper (SCCO). The position is down 9.05% since I added it to the portfolio back on December 12, 2007. In my Volatility Portfolio on my and subscription sites I own shares of First Quantum Minerals (FQVLF). The position is down 16.75% since I added it to the portfolio on January 2, 2018.