LME Copper


LME Copper stands for a group of spot, forward, and futures contracts, trading on the London Metal Exchange (LME), for delivery of Copper (Grade A), that can be used for price hedging, physical delivery of sales or purchases, investment, and speculation.

As of December 31, 2019, LME Copper contracts are associated with 144,675 tonnes of physical copper stored in LME approved warehouses around the world, or around 0.7% of 2019 world copper production of 20.6 million metric tonnes. Despite the small share of physical copper associated with LME Copper contracts, their prices act as reference prices for physical global copper transactions. This practice started in 1966, when Zambia, Chile, and most Copper-producing countries abandoned fixed price copper contracts, and announced that they would set copper contract prices based the average monthly price of the nearest contract month LME Copper futures contract. This pattern of using LME futures contract prices as reference prices for physical transactions spread to other base metals in the 1970s, and for Aluminium in the 1980s.