“Stabilization” of copper differs from sin in at least one respect – no one seems to be against it. Every time a tycoon in the producing industry pontificates on the economic history of copper, or prophesies its future, he is likely to praise the virtues of “stabilization”. Consumers of copper constantly bemoan fluctuations in the supply and price of the metal. Governments in some producing countries, to a greater or lesser degree dependent upon exports of copper for foreign exchange and upon taxation of copper profits for substantial parts of their budgets, are perhaps more eager than any other group for “stabilization”.
Compared with earlier periods, that represents a very considerable degree of stabilization. It came about basically because of two things:
First, the existence of sufficient world productive capacity to take care of world demand, notwithstanding the occasional serious strikes representing important losses of production. Without the excess capacity, they could only have meant a runaway price.
Second, the voluntary reductions in production rates made by many of the major producers at an early enough time to prevent excessive accumulation of stocks, with a resultant serious erosion of price.
If the situation prevailing over the last three years is what is meant by