Peru unrest threatens copper supply – by Joe Parkin Daniels and Harry Dempsey (Financial Times – February 8, 2023)

Analysts expect disruption to world’s second-largest producer to boost prices of the metal

Widespread anti-government protests are disrupting copper output in Peru, the world’s second-biggest producer, triggering predictions of a further surge in prices for the metal which has already rocketed in recent months as China’s resource-hungry economy reopens.

Demonstrators demanding early elections and the resignation of President Dina Boluarte have thrown up roadblocks across the country and attacked mines, causing production slowdowns and closures in the Latin American nation’s copper operations, which account for about 10 per cent of global supply.

Prices of copper, which is used in everything from electricity cables to electric cars, have rallied more than 20 per cent to just below $9,000 per tonne in about three months, as the abrupt end to draconian Covid restrictions in China boosted demand. Although the rally has stalled over the past two weeks, analysts said supply snags in Peru could provide fresh upward impetus.

“The situation is making a turn for the worse, with production losses to start rapidly mounting,” said Erik Heimlich, head of base metals supply at CRU, a consultancy.

For the rest of this article: