China’s production of refined copper and zinc rose to records in November amid higher smelting fees to produce the metals.
Refined copper output in November climbed 2.9% from the previous month to 755,000 metric tons, setting a 4th straight record, while zinc production advanced 6.4% to 548,000 tons, according to data released today by the National Bureau of Statistics. China’s smelters are increasing output as the fees they can charge miners to process ores into refined metals rise.
“Operating levels are close to full capacity” at Chinese copper smelters because of the higher fees, Xiao Fu, head of global commodities strategy at Bank of China International Ltd., told Bloomberg News by phone from London. “We could see fairly healthy production growth next year.”
Jiangxi Copper Co., the country’s largest smelter of the metal, boosted concentrate-processing charges by 16% for next year as global supply of the raw material rises. Freeport McMoRan and others had already seen their processing charges hiked by Jiangxi before these new price increases.
Weakening prices changed direction when the Japanese copper cash price rose 1.6% on Monday, December 15 to JPY 803,000 ($6,796) per metric ton. The price of US copper producer grade 110 saw little change in its price on Monday at $3.65 per pound. The price of US copper producer grade 102 showed little movement on Monday, hovering around $3.84 per pound. The price of US copper producer grade 122 held steady yesterday, remaining around $3.65 per pound.
Chinese copper prices were mixed for the day. Chinese copper wire gained 0.4% to finish at CNY 47,180 ($7,635) per metric ton. Chinese copper bar prices inched up 0.1% to CNY 47,950 ($7,759) per metric ton. The cash price of Chinese copper gained 0.1% to finish at CNY 48,150 ($7,792) per metric ton. Chinese bright copper scrap stayed flat at around CNY 40,700 ($6,586) per metric ton.
On the LME, the 3-month price of copper rose 0.9% to $6,479 per metric ton. After a 0.8% increase, the cash price of primary copper finished the day on the LME at $6,526 per metric ton.