According to an International Copper Study Group (ICSG) report released earlier this month, global copper production through the first seven months of the year was up 4.5% compared with the first seven months of 2017.
By volume, copper production increased by 500,000 tons, according to the report, largely paced by gains in Chile and Indonesia.
“Production in Chile, the world’s biggest copper mine producing country, increased by 11% primarily because production in February/March 2017 was restricted by a strike at Escondida (the world’s biggest copper mine) and also because there is an improvement in Codelco’s production levels in 2018,” the report states.
As for Indonesia, its output surged by 30%, largely due to a temporary ban on concentrate exports last year, the ICSG report notes.
Mine production was down in Canada and the United States over the first half of the year, by 6% and 7%, respectively.
In terms of refined copper production, primary production is estimated to have increased 0.5% year over year, while production from scrap jumped 6%, good for an overall increase of 1.5%. China was the main contributor to production growth in this category, while Chilean production rose 5%.
On the other end of the spectrum, Indian production fell 22%. Production declines were also seen in Australia, the Philippines, Poland and the U.S. “as a consequence of maintenance shutdowns and operational issues.”
The refined copper balance through the first seven months of the year shows a deficit of 155,000 tons, according to the report.
Even so, the copper price has traded sideways as of late, on the heels of a 7.8% surge in the LME copper price between Sept. 17 and Sept. 24 (reaching $6,318/t as of Sept. 24).
According to the report, the average LME cash price for September was $6,020.03/t, marking a 0.3% decline from the August average of $6,039.75/t.