Southern Copper Expects Higher Prices Next Year Thanks To Chinese Demand

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Strong demand from China for copper and an economic recovery in other parts of the world should help keep prices for the metal firm next year, the CEO of one of the world’s largest copper mining companies said.

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Southern Copper Corp. Chief Executive Oscar Gonzalez Rocha told the Wall Street Journal he expects copper prices to average around $3 a pound next year as demand in China remains strong, down from an expected average of about $3.11 a pound this year. The average copper price in 2013 was $3.34 a pound.

“They (Chinese buyers) will continue to consume copper, and this will keep a balance in prices that even if we aren’t at the $4 a pound that we saw a couple of years ago, prices will be maintained at around $3 a pound,” he said in an interview Wednesday at company headquarters in Lima.

The weaker copper price is hitting at the bottom line of various mining companies, Southern Copper included.

The price of US copper producer grade 110 saw the biggest decline of the day, dropping 0.6% to close at $3.60 per pound on Thursday, December 4. After falling 0.6% to $3.60 per pound, the price of US copper producer grade 122 reached a 30-day low. The price of US copper producer grade 102 fell to a 30-day low at $3.79 per pound after shifting 0.5%. The Japanese copper cash price inched up 0.3% to JPY 801,000 ($6,683) per metric ton.

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Chinese copper prices were mixed for the day. Chinese copper wire prices inched up 0.5% to CNY 46,770 ($7,606) per metric ton. Chinese copper bar finished the day up 0.4% to CNY 47,550 ($7,733) per metric ton. The cash price of Chinese copper gained 0.4% to finish at CNY 47,750 ($7,766) per metric ton. Chinese bright copper scrap held its value on Thursday at CNY 40,500 ($6,586) per metric ton.

The copper 3-month price saw little price change on Thursday on the LME at $6,390 per metric ton. The cash price of primary copper held steady on Thursday on the LME, remaining around $6,451 per metric ton.

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