Copper is a metal used extensively as a heat and electrical conductor, as well as a component in metal alloys, most notably brass and bronze. Annual world production is projected to 18.4 million metric tons in 2008.
Copper is used extensively for electrical wiring and plumbing in buildings. A good overview on the use of copper can be found on the webpage of the International Wrought Copper Council (IWCC).
Copper is known to have antimicrobial properties. It is also an important nutrient. It is widely believed that copper jewelry can help wearer conquer diseases.
High Grade Copper futures contracts are traded on the COMEX under ticker symbol HG and are delivered every month of the year. (For more information on commodity tickers, check out the commodity ticker construction page.)
The four largest copper producers are
The usage of copper may be significantly reduced in the current downturn.
Improving living conditions and expansion of infrastructure require electrification of houses, manufacturing facilities, and offices. Further copper is required in electrical powerplants, transformation and transport of the energy and for the extension of public transport.
Improved comfort functions and hybrid powertrains require increased amounts of copper to be build into vehicles. Plugin hybrids are going to increase the demand for electric power from the grid. The use of solar panels on buildings increases copper usage in the building sector.