Last 5 posts


Welcome to Lord Copper

Opinions about lots of things - mostly related to the worlds' metal markets

Policemen with Guns, One-Way Streets and Speeding

20 February 2019

We stopped dead. The nose of the cab was butting up against the front of the police four-by-four. The two officers who stepped out, one from each side, were both, indubitably, pointing sub-machine guns directly at us. I could see the entrance to the building I was headed for about thirty yards down the road. What to do?


A Flawed Ambition

13 February 2019

For this tale I am going back to what, for many, must appear more like prehistory than history. But in that it ultimately goes back to human nature it is, perhaps, impossible for it ever to go wholly out of date.


The Man Who Knows Too Much About Russia

06 February 2019

John Helmer has been - and is - many things; political advisor at very high levels, journalist, academic, writer. Some thirty-odd years ago, he established himself as a journalist in Moscow, setting up his own independent news bureau. His name is known to us in the metals business from the extensive coverage he has given to the resource industry in Russia, specifically the antics of the oligarchs running the mining and metals sector. Most of his thoughts and stories are found on his extensive website, “Dances with Bears”.


Dutch Disease?

30 January 2019

A few weeks ago, in a column on this site, Bill Prast referred to the ‘Dutch Disease’. That may sound either like something trees get or an illness incurred from a too-detailed association with the ‘products’ on display in the windows in certain quarters in Amsterdam, but in fact it is a description of the dangers to an economy of a sudden boom in one sector, usually, but not definitively, raw materials.


A Forgotten Producer Price

23 January 2019

The producer price of copper outside the USA about which I wrote recently made its mark on macroeconomic thought at the time (the 1960's). Yet its most effective phase lasted less than five years. The zinc producer price I am now writing about lasted 24 years, yet you will struggle to find much reference to it at all in writings on the broad economy. The years in question were 1964 - 1988.


Close Out

16 January 2019

LME close out changes; open-outcry strikes back? Just before the Christmas holiday, the LME issued a notice about changing its daily PM kerb close-out schedules for copper and lead, an associated trial extension for zinc, as well as the possibility of a wider change to the complete procedure.


In Praise of Cartels

09 January 2019

“People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”