A favorite of the wire and cable industry, copper possesses excellent electrical conductivity and finds widespread use as an electrical conductor in everyday wire and cable products. Copper has even become the third most used metal in the world. Due to a number of influencing factors, including demand, the price of copper has increased dramatically in recent years.
Concerns with copper are not unique to the US, but have become an international concern in various markets. Since the price of copper directly affects the price of electrical wire and cable, those involved in the industry, suppliers and customers alike, are affected by any fluctuations in copper prices.
To closely monitor changes, the wire and cable industry looks to outside sources for accurate pricing information. The two main indices used to determine the cost of the copper industry have been the COMEX Copper Index and the Omega-Camden Copper Index. Although the two differ slightly, both indices continue to be reliable resources.
You may have read about COMEX copper prices in national publications such as the New York Times gold American metal market. Phrases such as “Copper prices rise in the COMEX Division of the Mercantile Exchange” are not uncommon. COMEX (Commodities Exchange) draws public attention as a division of the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), which is a global physical commodity futures exchange. The COMEX Division trades futures for metals such as high grade gold, silver and copper.
COMEX manages the trading of copper as a commodity with commercial value through a daily settlement price. Prices are recorded on the COMEX Copper Index, which keeps track of all settlement prices. Copper futures in the COMEX Division are used by copper market participants for investment purposes. The future prices listed in the index reflect where copper prices appear to be headed based on current market sentiment. Opinions and the direction of prices in the index can change abruptly.
Like the COMEX Copper Index, the Omega-Camden Copper Index plays a role in determining the cost of copper in the wire and cable industry. Omega-Camden Copper Core, formerly known as Camden Copper Core, is a benchmark for wire and cable pricing. The Omega-Camden Index tracks and measures whether copper prices are rising or falling. The Omega-Camden Copper Index is supplied by International Wire (IMG), whose products include a wide range of copper wire.
Unlike the daily changes of the COMEX Copper Index, the Omega-Camden Index is only updated twice a month. Another difference is that the Omega-Camden Copper Index prices take transportation costs into account. The Omega-Camden basis can be fifteen to twenty cents per pound higher than COMEX prices as a result of the added cost. The COMEX copper price reflects only the price produced at the mine. Does not include additional production costs.
With current price volatility, the COMEX and Omega-Camden copper indices have become valuable tools for the wire and cable industry. COMEX is useful because it is updated daily and predicts future prices. The Omega-Camden index is useful because it considers additional costs. Both provide a deeper understanding of one of the industry’s biggest concerns: the ever-fluctuating cost of copper.