Thursday, May 15, 2003

Antitrust news: copper

Beware Big Copper:

Manipulation in the copper market may be as old as the market itself, but traders and analysts say the antitrust probe launched this week into a possible cartel in concentrates might lead nowhere and ultimately just reflect market dynamics.

Even though copper has a colorful history of scandal, the red metal is no more ripe for trading shenanigans than other commodities, nor does it hold any intrinsic quality lending itself to price-doctoring, they said.

Canadian, U.S. and European competition regulators are investigating allegations of price fixing of copper concentrate, the mined product refined into metal.

European regulators have recently conducted "raids" on numerous copper companies. I'm a little unclear as to how such a raid operates. Are there restraint-of-trade-sniffing dogs who can located price-fixing agreements?

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