India Copper Market – Summer 2012 Outlook

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Copper prices remained volatile throughout the first quarter of 2012 and the same result is expected in the next quarter, even as Goldman Sachs has cut their price forecast for copper, nickel and zinc for 2012 due to the prospect of increased supplies.

Globally, Chile accounts for 34 percent of total world copper mine production; Peru, the US, China, Australia and Indonesia together are responsible for around 32 percent.

According to the International Copper Association (ICA), India has estimated recoverable reserves of 537.9 million tons of copper, which constitute around 1 percent of global reserves.

Karnataka, Rajasthan, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh states account for the majority of copper production in India.

Copper plays a very important role for a country’s economic growth because it is used in the manufacture of electrical machinery, cabling for power, building, telecommunications, and automobiles.

During the last few years, India’s switch from net importer to exporter is due to a rise in production by three companies: Sterlite Industries, Hindalco, and Hindustan Copper.

The state-owned Hindustan Copper is a vertically integrated producer, whereas Hindalco and Sterlite Industries are mainly custom smelters. Hindalco and Sterlite Industries account for more than 80 percent of India’s total copper production.

In 2011, world usage of refined copper grew by around 3 percent (610,000 tons) to 20 million tons, principally owing to increases in Chinese and Russian apparent usage of 7 percent and 60 percent, respectively.

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