Cooper prices likely to increase due to Chile earthquake

NASHVILLE, TENN. — By now most everyone has seen the news footage of the earthquake in Chile. What many may not realize, however, is how much impact the quake will have not only in this country, but around the world. Because Chile is the largest exporter of copper in the world, the most immediate effect is an increase in the cost of anything that uses copper — including HVAC equipment.

Billy Jobe, district manager for Comfort Supply Inc., a distributor of Ruud HVAC products, said his company will be warning contractors about price increases resulting from copper shortages.

“Manufacturers will already have purchased all the copper they need for the year,” said Jobe. “But next year, we can expect to see some increased costs due to the earthquake’s effect on the copper mines in Chile.”

The recent earthquake halted operations in Chile’s copper mines for several days, causing worldwide metal prices to increase. On the London Metal Exchange, copper prices rose 3.7% in the days following the devastating earthquake.

“We have already received some notices from our suppliers letting us know that the copper shortage is going to mean higher prices,” said Jobe. “If you have been putting off replacing an HVAC unit, I wouldn’t wait until next year.”

Copper is a major component of the materials used to manufacture and install HVAC units, Jobe said. So while contractors and suppliers don’t want to raise prices, supply and demand will necessitate an increase.

“When you’re watching the news, Chile might seem like it’s too far away to have any effect on us,” Jobe said. “But in a global economy, a few days of lost production will have consequences that can take months to fully realize.”

Comfort Supply is a wholesaler of quality Ruud products and a one-stop location for both traditional and geo-thermal HVAC products, serving the residential and commercial market from locations in Nashville, Murfreesboro and Cookeville.

Ruud is an industry leader for heating, cooling and water heating solutions. All Ruud heating and cooling products meet and exceed industry standards for quality and reliability.