Copper prices surged to 21-month highs above $6,200 a tonne earlier this month, up more than 40 percent since January 2016 due to worries about supplies after disruptions in top producer Chile, Indonesia and Peru.
Global copper demand this year is estimated at about 23 million tonnes with half of that being consumed in China. A recent Reuters survey showed analysts expecting copper prices to average at $5,350 a tonne. Forecasts ranged between $4,740 and $5,855.
The survey also showed the copper market would be in a surplus of around 80,000 tonnes this year and next. But those could easily turn into large deficits if stoppages and disruptions are prolonged.
Analysts typically factor in a 5 percent disruption allowance for their market balance forecasts. Below are some major copper output disruptions. Also detailed are some major contract negotiations due this year, according to analysts.
BHP Billiton’s Escondida in Chile, the world’s largest copper mine, said it would not be able to meet its contractual obligations on metals shipments on Feb. 10, two days into a strike that brought output to a standstill.
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