It is often said that "copper is the metal with a PhD in economics". Because copper is used so extensively in our high tech civilization, it's price movements are very sensitive to the pace of the world economy. Copper is used for almost all electrical wiring and circuit boards, in plumbing, in coins, and in creating many metal alloys. When the economy is booming, the need for copper soars, sending prices up, and when recession strikes, demand falls off, and prices slump. The volatile dollar can sometimes obscure these price signals, so the best way to see what Dr. Copper is telling us is by looking at the price of copper in a more constant money, gold.
As the charts below show, copper is near its all time lows, about the same price in 2010 as in 1936. But because of the ongoing destruction of the US Dollar, it requires 35 times as many dollars in 2010 to buy a pound of copper as it did in 1936!