In all of gold's fancy footwork, copper's been much ignored, but the metal may offer a hint that there's hope for the global economy yet.Copper futures reached a record intraday level of $4.27 on May 5 on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Then, as the financial crisis deepened and concerns over the global economy worsened, copper prices lost half their value.Of the base metals, "copper is the interesting one -- it stayed high longer than the other base metals, but seems to have cracked now," said Brent Cook, independent exploration analyst. "Copper has lost its PhD and is now running with the frat boys."Still, the metal might be a handy tool for forecasters trying to pry open their latest economic predictions.
"Copper is usually a good gauge of economic health because it is broadly used, but more specifically because it is important to construction and equipment manufacturing that tend to precede other areas of economic activity, and that makes copper a leading indicator," said David Coffin, co-editor of HardRockAnalyst.com....MORE