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Why the world is worrying about this not-so-precious metal

Trading near historic lows, copper augers more trouble for emerging markets.
Copper coins 2014 03 18Enlarge
Copper coins from the second and third centuries found in a private garden in Paris. (Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — For those of you not checking how copper's trading on your Bloomberg terminal (and that includes this writer), the fall in price of the red metal has probably left no impression. For most of us, copper is what US pennies are made of. But even that’s not quite right: Since 1982, pennies have been almost all zinc, and a measly 2.5 percent copper.

But economists know better, and their blogs are burning red.

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