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How to invest in copper in Australia

Copper stocks on the ASX remain one of the hottest commodities. Here’s what you should consider before investing in the asset.

Copper is among the world's most highly consumed metals. It has an abundance of uses – from our homes to industrial machinery and it will even play a critical role in reaching net-zero.

As of late 2022, copper consumption was estimated to be around 26 million tones, or up 2.1% on 2021. In Australia, exports fell to 813,000 tonnes due to production constraints. But that doesn't mean Australia won't be lifting its copper exports, with predictions saying we will export 895,000 tonnes by 2024.

If you're looking to invest in copper stocks, you can choose between pure-play copper stocks on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), such as Sandfire (SFR) and OZ Minerals (OZL), or you can buy miners that produce many different metals including copper, such as BHP Group (BHP).

This guide will cover how you can invest in copper stocks in Australia. It breaks down the pros and cons of buying copper stocks on the ASX, copper ETFs and copper futures.

What are ASX copper stocks?

If you're looking to invest in copper then ASX copper stocks give you exposure to the industrial metal. They include a bunch of well-known Australian companies such as BHP and Rio Tinto, as well as smaller miners you might not know yet.

If you're looking to invest in copper stocks you'll have 2 options:

  1. Pure-play copper companies: These are businesses that focus exclusively on copper production.
  2. Large mining companies that have a diversified portfolio: These are miners that produce copper and a bunch of other minerals.

Both have strengths and weaknesses. A pure copper miner has a greater exposure to copper, which in times when the price of the asset is rising can be a good thing. But it comes with more risks as you don't have downside protection which more diversified miners have.

What is copper used for?

Copper is a reddish-orange metal that is corrosion-resistant and an excellent conductor of heat and electricity. In its natural state, copper is soft, solid and can be moulded into different shapes and thicknesses.

It is naturally found in ore deposits that are mined or leached. Mining crushes and grinds the ore into powder, where the unwanted materials and other impurities are removed. Leaching uses sulphuric acid to remove the copper from the other ore minerals.

Copper has a plethora of uses across 5 main markets:

  • Construction. Wiring, heating, refrigeration and plumbing all use copper materials.
  • Electrical and electronics. Utilities and electronics need copper wiring and parts.
  • Consumer products. Cookware and household appliances use their fair share of this raw material.
  • Transportation. Vehicles, including aeroplanes, cars and trucks, are manufactured with copper.
  • Industrial equipment. Machinery consumes millions of pounds of copper every year.

Copper stocks generally refer to companies that explore, develop, produce and sell copper all over the world.

Copper stocks for your watchlist

While Australia is one of the largest producers of copper, it is not alone in producing the precious metal. Copper stocks trade on international exchanges, including the New York (NYSE), London (LSE) and Toronto (TSX) stock exchanges, as well as the ASX. Here are list of copper stocks you can add to your watchlist:

If you're looking at buying copper stocks, here are a few things to watch out for:

Pros

  • Multiple options to choose from
  • More control over your investment
  • Leave the market when you want
  • You might even get dividends

Cons

  • Stocks are more vulnerable to market fluctuations
  • Increase your risks to just owning the commodity itself

Buy copper ETFs

To date, there are no pure-play copper ETFs listed on the ASX, but there are some copper ETFs listed in the US. These ETFs include the following:

  • Global X Copper Miners ETF (COPX)
  • United States Copper Index Fund (CPER)
  • iPath Series B Bloomberg Copper Subindex Total Return ETN (JJC)

Pros

  • Immediate diversification into the asset class
  • Don't need to identify individual copper miners that will win in the sector

Cons

  • You will have to pay a management fee
  • You do not take ownership of the underlying asset

Compare online brokers to buy stocks and ETFs

Name Product Standard brokerage fee Inactivity fee Asset class
eToro
Finder AwardExclusive
eToro
$0
US$10 per month if there’s been no log-in for 12 months
ASX shares, Global shares, US shares, ETFs
Finder exclusive: Get 12 months of investment tracking app Delta PRO for free when you fund your eToro account (T&Cs apply).
CFD service. Capital at risk.
Join the world's biggest social trading network when you trade stocks, commodities and currencies from the one account.
Moomoo Share Trading
$3
$0
ASX shares, Global shares, US shares, ETFs
Finder exclusive: Get an additional 30 days on top of the regular brokerage-free period for new accounts. T&Cs apply.
Trade shares on the ASX, the US markets and buy ETFs with Moomoo. Plus join a community over 20 million investors.
Tiger Brokers
Exclusive
Tiger Brokers
$5.50
$0
ASX shares, Global shares, US shares, ETFs
Finder exclusive: Get 10 no-brokerage US or ASX market trades in the first 180 days + 7% p.a. on uninvested cash + US$30 TSLA & US$30 NVDA shares with deposits up to AU$2,000. T&Cs apply.
Trade Australian, US and Asian stocks with no minimum deposit on Tiger Broker’s feature-packed platform.
CMC Invest
Finder Award
CMC Invest
$0
$0
ASX shares, Global shares, Options trading, US shares, ETFs
$0 brokerage on US, UK, Canadian and Japanese markets (FX spreads apply).
Trade over 45,000 shares and ETFs from Australia and 15 major global markets. Plus, buy Aussie shares or ETFs for $0 brokerage up to $1,000 (First buy order of each security, each day - excludes margin loan settled trades).
Webull
$4.90
$0
ASX shares, Global shares, Options trading, US shares, ETFs
Sign up & deposit $200 to get $100 of rewards value, or deposit $1,000 to get $200 worth. Up to $5,450 value available. T&Cs apply.
Trade ASX and US stocks and US options, plus gain access to inbuilt news platforms and educational resources. You can also start trading for less with fractional shares.
Saxo Invested
Saxo Invested
$3
$0
ASX shares, Global shares, Options trading, US shares, ETFs
Access 22,000+ stocks on 50+ exchanges worldwide
Low fees for Australian and global share trading, no inactivity fees, low currency conversion fee and optimised for mobile.
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Purchase copper futures, CFDs or other options

You can invest in the asset through its future prices without actually taking ownership of it.

In Australia, contracts for difference (CFDs) are most commonly used when it comes to trading commodities.

CFDs are derivative investment products that allow you to trade on the future prices of underlying assets such as commodities, stocks and indices.

By investing in copper CFDs, you're speculating on the price of the asset in the future. In other words, you're agreeing to pay today's prices for an asset that gets delivered sometime in the future.

If the price rises between now and the time when the CFD finishes, you'll either make or lose money depending on how the trade played out. For example if you think the price of copper will fall and trade against it, but instead the price rises, you'll lose your investment.

On the flip side, you can also bet against copper. If you think the price will drop, you can "short" the contract. This means they put in an order to sell the asset at today's prices for delivery in the future. Now, if prices drop between the time the short contract was purchased and the contract expiry date, the price difference will be the trader's profit for the trader.

However, this is a riskier way to gain exposure to the sector. It is not advised that beginners use CFDs.

Futures and other options work in a similar way. When it comes to future copper contracts, you're agreeing to buy an asset at a future set price. In other words, you're agreeing to pay today's prices for an asset that gets delivered sometime in the future. You can once again go long (expect the price to rise) or short (expect the price to fall) in the futures markets.

Pros

  • If you can read the market, you can gain solid yields from your investment
  • You can invest in a market that is falling
  • CFDs/futures contacts can be used to day trade

Cons

  • These assets are highly risky – add leverage and you can lose a lot of money quickly
  • You don't own underlying assets – you own futures contracts and are speculating on the price of copper

Compare CFD brokers to trade copper futures

Disclaimer: General information only. All forms of investments (and in particular, trading CFDs, commodities and forex) carry significant risk, including the risk of losing more than the invested amounts, market volatility and liquidity risks. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Such activities are not suitable for most investors.
Name Product Minimum Opening Deposit Minimum Opening Deposit Commission - ASX 200 Shares Available CFD markets Platforms
Pepperstone CFD
$0
$0
$5 or 0.07%
Australian Stocks, Commodities, Cryptocurrencies, ETFs, Forex, Global Stocks, Indices (CFDs only)
MetaTrader 4
MetaTrader 5
cTrader
TradingView
Pepperstone Trading Platform
Disclaimer: CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Get access to more than 60+ forex and CFD markets when you sign up with this award-winning Australian broker. Plus, access the new advanced TradingView charts platform.
Vantage CFD
$50
$50
No commission
Commodities, Cryptocurrencies, ETFs, Forex, Global Stocks, Indices (CFDs only)
MetaTrader 4
MetaTrader 5
TradingView
Disclaimer: CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Vantage has some of the lowest CFD trading fees in Australia including $0 commissions on all Gold trades. Plus you can find global trends and place trades through the new TradingView charts platform.
IG CFD broker
$0
$0
0.08% with $7 minimum
Bonds, Commodities, Cryptocurrencies, ETFs, Forex, Global Stocks, Indices, Options (CFDs only)
MetaTrader 4
ProReal Time
IG Trading Platform and Apps
L2
Disclaimer: CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Trade from over 15,000 markets with Australia's leading service for CFD trading and forex.
Plus500 CFD
$100
$100
No commission
Commodities, Cryptocurrencies, ETFs, Forex, Global Stocks, Indices, Options (CFDs only)
Plus500 Trading Platform
Disclaimer: CFD service. Your capital is at risk.
Trade CFDs on Australian and International shares, indices, cryptocurrencies, commodities and more.
IC Markets CFD (True ECN Account)
US$200
US$200
0.1% per side
Australian Stocks, Global Stocks, Indices, Commodities, Forex, Cryptocurrencies (CFDs only)
MetaTrader 4
MetaTrader 5
cTrader
Disclaimer: CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Trade 230+ different products with fast execution under 40 milliseconds on average.
Saxo Invested CFD
0
0
0.08% with $3 minimum
Bonds, Commodities, Cryptocurrencies, ETFs, Forex, Global Stocks, Indices, Options, (CFDs only)
SaxoTraderGO
SaxoTraderPRO
Disclaimer: CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Award-winning trading platfrom with extensive charting tools and reliable execution.
Blueberry Markets CFD Trading
US$100
US$100
$20 per month subscription plus 2% of trade size
Australian Stocks, Commodities, Cryptocurrencies, Indices (CFDs only)
MetaTrader 5
Disclaimer: CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Bottom of the market fees on forex, CFDs and commodities with 24/7 quality customer service.
ACY Securities CFD
$50
$50
No commission
Australian Stocks, Bonds, Commodities, Cryptocurrencies, ETFs, Forex, Global Stocks, Indices, Metals (CFDs only)
MetaTrader 4
MetaTrader 5
Disclaimer: CFD Service. Your capital is at risk. Trade over 2,000 products across CFDs, forex, indices, metals, shares, commodities and cryptocurrency, starting from as low as $50 a trade.
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Why invest in copper stocks?

Copper has an expansive range of industrial and consumer applications – from factories and transmission lines to homes and electronics. And the recent push for electric vehicles (EVs) is likely to increase the demand for this essential metal.

Electric vehicles have 5 times more copper than traditional cars.

And this new driving technology will also require large amounts of copper to support its electric charging infrastructure. Copper’s strong ties to many sectors of the economy likely mean that the demand isn’t going anywhere.

Not only is demand expected to grow due to EVs, it also plays an important role in solar and wind energy systems. So regardless of what green energy initiative is implemented, it is likely that copper stocks will benefit.

Risks of investing in copper stocks

While copper is one of the most abundant metals on Earth, only a small portion is economically viable to extract at today’s prices using current technologies. So mining companies are vulnerable to copper price fluctuations, which are easily impacted by geopolitics.

For example, global copper prices fell to their 2-year low in 2019. It was collateral damage amid the escalating trade war between the US and China – a country that consumes over 50% of the world’s metal. So even though in 2023 there are a number of tailwinds for the sector, it can easily change.

An additional risk is that there are other practical substitutes for copper.

In some instances, manufacturers can use aluminium instead of copper. These include automobile radiators and optical fibre in telecommunications equipment. Plastics can also be used for pipes and plumbing fixtures instead of copper. As such, it could see a lower demand for copper, meaning the price of the commodity could fall.

Compare trading platforms

One of the simplest ways to invest in copper is with a domestic brokerage account in Australia, which allows you to buy stocks on the ASX. But if you want to invest in international copper stocks, you'll need an international brokerage account.

Use the table below to compare domestic brokerage accounts.

Name Product Price per trade Inactivity fee Asset class International
eToro
Finder AwardExclusive
eToro
$0
US$10 per month if there’s been no log-in for 12 months
ASX shares, Global shares, US shares, ETFs
Yes
Finder exclusive: Get 12 months of investment tracking app Delta PRO for free when you fund your eToro account (T&Cs apply).
CFD service. Capital at risk.
Join the world's biggest social trading network when you trade stocks, commodities and currencies from the one account.
CMC Invest
Finder Award
CMC Invest
$0
$0
ASX shares, Global shares, Options trading, US shares, ETFs
Yes
$0 brokerage on US, UK, Canadian and Japanese markets (FX spreads apply).
Trade over 45,000 shares and ETFs from Australia and 15 major global markets. Plus, buy Aussie shares or ETFs for $0 brokerage up to $1,000 (First buy order of each security, each day - excludes margin loan settled trades).
Moomoo Share Trading
US$0.99
$0
ASX shares, Global shares, US shares, ETFs
Yes
Finder exclusive: Get an additional 30 days on top of the regular brokerage-free period for new accounts. T&Cs apply.
Trade shares on the ASX, the US markets and buy ETFs with Moomoo. Plus join a community over 20 million investors.
Spaceship US Investing
US$0
$0
US shares, ETFs
Yes
Dive into US markets with $0 brokerage, starting with just a $10 investment.
Unlock US stocks and ETFs with minimal entry barriers, offering straightforward, low-cost options for new and seasoned investors.
Tiger Brokers
US$2
$0
ASX shares, Global shares, US shares, ETFs
Yes
Finder exclusive: Get 10 no-brokerage US or ASX market trades in the first 180 days + 7% p.a. on uninvested cash + US$30 TSLA & US$30 NVDA shares with deposits up to AU$2,000. T&Cs apply.
Trade Australian, US and Asian stocks with no minimum deposit on Tiger Broker’s feature-packed platform.
Webull
US$0.25
$0
ASX shares, Global shares, Options trading, US shares, ETFs
Yes
Sign up & deposit $200 to get $100 of rewards value, or deposit $1,000 to get $200 worth. Up to $5,450 value available. T&Cs apply.
Trade ASX and US stocks and US options, plus gain access to inbuilt news platforms and educational resources. You can also start trading for less with fractional shares.
Saxo Invested
US$1
$0
ASX shares, Global shares, Options trading, US shares, ETFs
Yes
Access 22,000+ stocks on 50+ exchanges worldwide
Low fees for Australian and global share trading, no inactivity fees, low currency conversion fee and optimised for mobile.
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Important: The standard brokerage fee displayed is the trade cost for new customers to purchase $1,000 of either Australian or US shares. Where a platform charges different fees for both US and Australian shares we show the lower of the two. Where both CHESS sponsored and custodian shares are offered, we display the cheapest option.

Bottom line

Copper is involved in a lot of economic sectors. While copper's consumer and industrial applications keep it in demand, you’ll need to keep an eye on global trade wars.

Consider a few different trading platforms that offer international brokerage accounts to add copper to your investment portfolio.

Frequently asked questions

Important information: Powered by Finder.com.au. This information is general in nature and is no substitute for professional advice. It does not take into account your personal situation. This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, CFDs, options or any specific provider, service or offering. It should not be relied upon as investment advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks, ETFs and options trading involves substantial risk of loss and therefore are not appropriate for most investors. You do not own or have any interest in the underlying asset. Capital is at risk, including the risk of losing more than the amount originally put in, market volatility and liquidity risks. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Tax on profits may apply. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determination for the product on the provider's website. Consider your own circumstances, including whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money and possess the relevant experience and knowledge. We recommend that you obtain independent advice from a suitably licensed financial advisor before making any trades.

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