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Welcome to Lord Copper

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

Look Back - but not (necessarily) in Anger

22 January 2020

Generally, as time passes, decades do not start and finish with neat symmetry. The 1960s, for example, did not really begin until January 1963, when the Please Please Me album was released by the Beatles. However, sometimes the shift is more clear-cut – the 1980s began with a newly-elected UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and US President Ronald Reagan heralding a social and economic sea-change from the previous decade.

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Cowboys and Indiums

15 January 2020

Minor metals, such as indium, rarely hit the headlines. But, when they do, it is not usually for the right reasons. So, to quote Neddie Seagoon, 'let me tell you a tale'...

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Reflections on Regulation

08 January 2020

Let us go back again to the new LME employee in 1960. It was a time of patronage and great loyalty. The employee was welcomed to the company as a new member of the family. He would, in general, be given the opportunity for development and after a few years a decision would be made as to his (only ‘his’ in those days) future. The directors would make a considered judgement.

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No New Beginning for Zambia

18 December 2019

Across the street from where I live in Somerset is a white Zimbabwean farmer. He and his family live today in a broken-down building on a small-holding that is owned by a romany landlord, of which there is large community in these parts. He is so skilled that he has restored the land, planted a beautiful garden for nature, keeps geese, turkeys, chickens for eggs; with his wife, makes jams and gins with the fruits of the earth. But he is in the UK because he cannot live in Zimbabwe. Last week he was joined by a pastor who left Zimbabwe with two suitcases and no money. But it was better than staying in Zimbabwe.

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The Tin Agreement Collapse

11 December 2019

2020 will see the thirty-fifth anniversary of the collapse of the latest and last International Tin Agreement, which came after its almost thirty years of existence. That is long enough ago to mean that at least half the people active in tin trading today have no first hand experience of that Agreement in operation. This seems to me a good enough excuse to recap an event that at the time was – and today arguably still is – far and away the biggest shock in international commodity trading since World War II.

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This time, be very, very careful....

04 December 2019

What fun! We’re all off to the polling station again in a week or so’s time for this year’s election. I suppose the thinking could be to get them in while we can, because who knows what the future may bring? Every time, it seems, we’re told ‘this is the most important election for a generation/decade/lifetime’, and yet in the end things generally trudge along in much the same way. This time, though, I think that statement is valid; we do genuinely stand at a fork in the road.

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Of Partners, Champagne and Corkscrews - Part Two

27 November 2019

The seismic shift was caused by the termination of the right to convertibility of dollars into gold at $35 per ounce in 1971, and the consequent final breakdown of the Bretton Woods agreement in 1973.

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