As 2012 drew to a close, the SEC finally approved J.P. Morgan’s JPM XF Physical Copper Trust, the first exchange-traded product for physical copper in the U.S. At the same time, the SEC delayed its decision on a very similar Copper Trust from BlackRock’s iShares until February 22.

It’s been a very long process, starting in October 2010, when both JPM and BlackRock filed their original applications with the SEC. Back then, copper was in the first year of what became a three-year-long deficit, with demand exceeding supply, but now the market may be swinging into a surplus.

That leads to the question: While JPM and BlackRock were battling it out with a very dedicated group of opponents — a group of copper fabricators who fear the investment products will engage in hoarding intending to drive prices artificially higher — did they miss the right moment for a launch?

And with plenty of futures-based copper ETFs on the market, will investors be willing to take on the additional costs of storing and insuring physical copper, which is big and bulky unlike gold, silver, platinum and palladium?

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