Copper prices could be held down by rising supply from mines in the next couple of years but are set to surge after that due to a dearth of monster projects and bottlenecks at refineries, senior executives at top copper producers said on Wednesday.
“The mining sector is very vulnerable to cycles. When there is a boom, mining companies hold big gala dinners, with chandeliers and trumpets, but when the market is down, everyone has gloomy faces and exploration stops,” said Javier Targhetta, senior vice-president at Freeport-McMoRan Inc.
Growth in demand of 3 to 4% annually over the next five years meant 4 to 5 million tons of new supply would have to be found, the equivalent of 10 to 12 big mines, he told a Metal Bulletin copper conference in Shanghai.
On Friday, November 21, the day’s biggest mover was the Japanese copper cash price, which saw a 1.8% increase to JPY 827,000 ($6,994) per metric ton. Friday saw the price of US copper producer grade 110 drift down 0.5% to $3.73 per pound after a couple of stagnant days. Following a quiet couple of days, the price of US copper producer grade 122 fell 0.5% last Friday to $3.73 per pound. After two changeless days, the price of US copper producer grade 102 fell 0.5% to $3.92 per pound.
Chinese copper prices were flat for the day. The price of Chinese copper wire held steady at CNY 48,085 ($7,854) per metric ton. The price of Chinese copper bar remained steady at CNY 48,900 ($7,987) per metric ton. The Chinese copper cash price showed little movement last Friday at CNY 49,100 ($8,020) per metric ton. The price of Chinese bright copper scrap remained essentially flat at CNY 42,300 ($6,909) per metric ton.
The primary copper cash price saw a 0.4% decline on the LME to $6,686 per metric ton. Also on the LME, the 3-month price of copper fell 0.3% to $6,620 per metric ton.