Business: Scramble for Copper

Less than a year ago, the U.S. had such a glut of copper that the industry was asking for tariffs and subsidies. By last week copper supplies were, so tight that the price of copper was bobbing like a puppet. Custom smelters, who had been selling copper at 32¢ a lb., got out of the market for a week, came back at 34¢-a lb. Major producers were selling copper at 31¢ a lb., v. last year's low of 25¢ a lb.

Why the scramble? Rising industrial production accounts for some of the demand. But chiefly, copper consumers are buying because they fear...

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