Why are these experts so bullish on ASX copper shares?

ASX copper shares could lead the charge higher into 2025. But why?

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A smiling miner wearing a high vis vest and yellow hardhat and working for Superior Resources does the thumbs up in front of an open pit copper mine, indicating positive news for the company's share price today following a significant copper discovery

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Leading ASX copper shares have returned some outsized gains over the past year amid a fast-rising copper price.

12 months ago, the red metal was trading for US$8,540 per tonne. Today, that same tonne is worth US$9,665, up 13% at the time of writing.

That's helped S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) copper share Sandfire Resources Ltd (ASX: SFR) rocket 36% in a year.

Dual-listed, Canadian-based Capstone Copper Corp (ASX: CSC) only began trading on the ASX on 8 April. The Capstone Copper share price soared 25% between the close on 8 April and 20 May, when copper prices were near record highs of US$10,889 per tonne.

Amid the past week's retrace in copper prices, both Capstone Copper and Sandfire shares have fallen since 20 May, though Capstone shares remain up 3% since 8 April.

In potentially good news for the miners, however, Citi believes the run higher for the red metal is only beginning.

Why Citi is bullish on ASX copper shares

"Citi's global commodity team continues to highlight copper as their top pick," Citi analyst Paul McTaggart said last week (quoted by The Australian).

"Against a backdrop of increasing confidence in traditional non-energy transition demand", the broker lifted its 2025 forecast for the copper price to US$12,000 per tonne. That's some 24% higher than current levels and could provide some heady tailwinds for ASX copper shares.

Indeed, Citi also upgraded Sandfire Resources to a neutral rating, boosting its share price forecast by 13% to $8.90 a share. That's more than 5% above yesterday's closing price.

The broker expects that copper will benefit from looming interest rate cuts from the US Federal Reserve and other leading central banks. And Citi foresees strong demand amid an improving outlook for global economic growth.

And then there's the ongoing energy transition.

What's been boosting the copper price?

A large part of the price boost driving ASX copper shares higher is an ongoing demand growth from the world's energy transition.

You'll find the highly conductive, non-corrosive metal in abundance in wind turbines, EVs, and all manner of electric wiring.

The rapid advance of artificial intelligence (AI) is also going hand in hand with a sizeable increase in forecast electricity demand. Nations the world over, including Australia, are building new AI-enabled data centres, which require far more juice to run the programs. Not to mention the copper that goes into the facilities themselves.

And all this comes as miners struggle to meet the growing demand.

On the supply side, ASX copper shares have benefited from numerous disruptions at major copper mines across the world in recent months, sending the copper price soaring.

Citigroup is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Motley Fool contributor Bernd Struben has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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