Global copper balance widens to 160 000 t deficit as refined output stalls – by Henry Lazenby ( – October 31, 2017)

VANCOUVER ( – The world’s refined copper balance has increased to 160 000 t for the first seven months of 2017, as refined copper supply has stagnated, according to the International Copper Study Group (ICSG).

The Lisbon-based think tank said the July deficit was in fact the lowest recorded so far this year, at 35 000 t, despite a 0.5% decline in refined copper use to 13 690 t, as scrap supplies improved and constrained use growth globally. This was significantly more than the six-month copper balance that showed a deficit of 75 000 t.

In the first seven months of 2017, the world refined copper balance, adjusted for changes in Chinese bonded stocks, indicated a deficit of about 90 000 t, up from a deficit of about 5 000 t reported last month.

According to ICSG data, world copper mine production fell 2% year-on-year to 11 381 t in the seven months since January, with concentrate production declining by around 1.5% and solvent extraction-electrowinning (SX-EW) production declining by around 4.5%.

The decline in world mine output was mainly because of a 7%, or 225 000 t, copper decline in output in Chile, the world’s biggest copper-producing country, which was negatively affected by the strike at the Escondida mine and lower output from Codelco mines.

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