This Morning in Metals: London Copper Prices Hit Two-Week Low

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This morning in metals news, the LME copper price fell Thursday, miner Antofagasta downgraded its 2018 copper production guidance and Norsk Hydro says the global aluminum market is moving toward a deficit.

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Copper Price Slides

The LME copper price dropped to a two-week low Thursday, Reuters reported.

MetalMiner’s Take: Despite the three-week downtrend in copper prices, LME copper prices remain over the $6,000/mt mark, which acted as a psychological ceiling for most of 2017.

The downtrend does not appear sharp. In fact, copper prices have traded sideways since the beginning of the month. Fundamentals support an increase in LME copper prices, as global stocks are decreasing and copper premiums are increasing globally.

The copper supply and demand balance calls for a deficit in both 2018 and 2019. In fact, copper ore grade is starting to deteriorate in some big mines, such as Codelco, creating expectations of shortages over the following years.

Up and Down

Chilean miner Antofagasta announced downgraded cooper production guidance for 2018 but forecast an increase in production for 2019.

“The physical copper market continues to look tight and the outlook for next year remains positive despite ongoing fears about disruptions to global trade,” Antofagasta plc CEO Iván Arriagada said in a release. “We have narrowed our copper production guidance for the full year to 705-725,000 tonnes and looking ahead we expect production in 2019 to increase to 750-790,000 tonnes, driven by higher average grades at Centinela Concentrates and Zaldívar.”

Aluminum at Deficit?

According to Norwegian firm Norsk Hydro, the global aluminum market is moving towards a deficit.

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“The third quarter reflected our continued challenges at Alunorte and increased raw material costs, while higher aluminium and alumina prices, as well as strong Energy results, contributed positively. The market for aluminium is tightening, and we expect the 2018 global primary market in deficit,” President and CEO Svein Richard Brandtzæg said in a release announcing the aluminum and renewable energy firms third-quarter financial results.

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