According to the International Copper Study Group, the global copper market was in deficit by approximately 385,000 tons through the first 11 months of 2019.
The LME three-month copper price built some upward momentum in late 2019 and the first two weeks of 2020, rising to just over $6,300/mt as of mid-January.
Since then, however, LME copper has fallen 9.5% — down to $5,727/mt — amid growing fears regarding the coronavirus outbreak in China and reports of a growing number of cases around the world, including in South Korea, Italy and Iran.
Global mine production falls 0.6%
Global copper mine production fell 0.6% during the first 11 months of 2019, according to the ICSG.
The world’s No. 1 copper producer, Chile, saw production drop 1% during the period, while Indonesian production fell 46%.
Combined production in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia fell by 3% after rising by 13% in 2018.
Elsewhere, production gains were realized in Australia, China, Mexico, Peru and the U.S.
Apparent refined usage falls 0.5%
Meanwhile, global apparent refined usage dropped 0.5% during the period, despite a 2% increase in China’s usage.
Copper demand increased in the U.S., India and Taiwan, but fell in the E.U. and Japan.
Global usage ex-China fell 3%.
Copper stocks rise
Copper stocks held on the LME, COMEX and SHFE increased 13% as of the end of January compared with the end of December 2019.
Aggregate stocks at the three exchanges totaled 342,258 tons as of the end of January.
Average LME price dips slightly in January
As for prices, the average LME cash price in January hit $6,049.20/mt, down 0.2% from the December average of $6,062.43/mt.
The average January price came in 0.9% lower than the 2019 average.
Through the first month of 2020, the LME copper cash price reached a high of $6,300.50/mt on Jan. 16 and a low of $5,570/mt on Jan. 31.