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Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Copper prices, which catapulted to record highs this year, may find some staying power. And the government of Chile, the world’s largest producer, holds the cards.

Catch up fast: Chile’s Senate just passed a bill that would create a massive additional tax burden on the metal, which is used in electronics and construction, Bloomberg reported.

  • The ultimate fate of the bill is tied up with the outcome of Chile’s presidential election runoff on Dec. 19 — if the leftist candidate, Gabriel Boric, wins, the bill will more likely turn into law, wrote the Atlantic Council's Josh Lipsky and his GeoEconomics Center team in a recent note on the global economy.

Why it matters: BHP Group, which mines copper in Chile, says the bill would chill investment in copper development in the South American nation, which produces a quarter of the world’s supply.

  • That could make the difficult task of meeting rising demand even harder, Bloomberg wrote.
  • “Copper prices reached an all-time high in 2021 and this bill would ensure the market stays hot into 2022,” according to Lipsky.

The intrigue: The Senate’s bill is unclear on whether the new tax is instead of, or in addition to, existing taxes — if the latter, the total tax burden could be as high as 80%, Bloomberg notes.

Go deeper: House passes bill aimed at curbing shipping container crisis

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Dec 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

What the death of Build Back Better means for business taxation

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin yesterday decapitated President Biden's "Build Back Better" legislation and, in so doing, maintained the status quo on business taxation.

The big picture: No changes are coming to carried interest or qualified small business stock, at least for the 2021 tax year. And forget about that 15% minimum tax on large corporations or the 1% excise tax on stock buybacks.

59 mins ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to actually deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

S&P 500 on track for worst-ever start to year

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Stocks suffered their steepest drop of the year early Monday, putting the S&P 500 on course for its worst-ever start to a year.

Driving the news: The benchmark S&P 500 dropped for its fifth straight day, with losses nearing 3% in early trading, momentarily putting it on track to fall into a "correction." Some of the steepest losses were recovered in early afternoon trading.