Four ETFs Supported By Copper’s Supply Concerns (JJC, DBB, ECH, EWA, FCX, BHP)

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December 7, 2010 6:40pm NYSE:DBB NYSE:ECH

The price of copper has witnessed positive support over the last few months and imbalances in supply and demand of the base metal are expected to provide further support to prices in the near

 future, enabling the iPath Dow Jones Copper Index ETN (NYSE:JJC), the PowerShares DB Base Metals (NYSE:DBB), the iShares MSCI Chile Index (NYSE:ECH) and the iShares MSCI Australia Index (NYSE:EWA) to reap the benefits.

According to forecasts by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, demand for copper is expected to outpace supply by 367,500 metric tons in the coming year.  This demand is primarily being driven by economic growth around the globe.  China, the world’s largest consumer of copper is expected to continue to witness economic expansion in the coming years as is India, Brazil and other emerging markets.  In fact, according to a study conducted by Barclays Capital, copper consumption in China, India, Brazil and the Middle East is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 7% per capita through 2015. 

Although demand continues to increase for copper, the true price support is coming from supply concerns and shocks.  Global exchange inventories of copper have declined by 22% this year and stockpiles are expected to drop to an all time low.  Furthermore, mining and production of copper has been on the decline as new reserves are getting harder to find and the grade of copper that is being extracted continues to deteriorate.  In fact, production at the world’s largest copper mine, Escondida, is expected to drop by as much as 10 percent over the next year.  Production concerns can further be supported by statements made by Freeport McMoRan (NYSE:FCX) stating that major copper reserves that are produced are being extracted from mines that are 100 years old and fading away. 

In a nutshell, copper is expected to witness a supply and demand imbalance in the coming years and one could capitalize on this shortcoming through the previously mentioned ETFs.

  • iPath Dow Jones Copper Index ETN (NYSE:JJC), which is a pure play on copper and seeks to track the performance of copper futures contracts
  • PowerShares DB Base Metals (NYSE:DBB), which allocates 33% of its assets to copper futures contracts
  • iShares MSCI Chile Index (NYSE:ECH), which is a play on Chile, the world’s largest copper producer accounting for nearly one third of global copper output.
  • iShares MSCI Australia Index (NYSE:EWA), which boasts BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) as its top holding, allocating more than 15% of its assets to the diversified natural resources company who is the largest shareholder in the world’s largest copper mine.

Written By Kevin Grewal From ETF Tutor  Disclosure: No Positions 

Kevin Grewal is the founder, editor and publisher of ETF Tutor and serves as the editor at, where he focuses on mitigating risk and implementing exit strategies to preserve equity. Additionally, he is the editor at The ETF Institute, which is the only independent organization providing financial professionals with certification, education, and training pertaining to exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Prior to this, Grewal was a quantitative analyst at a small hedge fund where he constructed portfolios dealing with stock lending, exchange-traded funds, arbitrage mechanisms and alternative investments. He is an expert at dealing with ETFs and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California along with a MBA from the California State University, Fullerton. He is a contributing author on The Street – his articles can also be found published on various sites including Yahoo! Finance, The Globe and Mail , Daily Markets, MSN Money, Seeking Alpha, Fidelity Investments, Traders Library, and Minyanville.

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