After coming in at comparable levels to last year through the first four months of this year, global mine production fell in May.
The International Copper Study Group (ICSG) reported global copper mine production had dropped by 2.2% through the first five months of the year compared to the equivalent period in 2019.
Concentrate production fell by 2.5% and solvent extraction-electrowinning fell by 0.6%.
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COVID-19 impacts output in April, May
The COVID-19 pandemic began to exert a significant impact on copper mine production in April and May.
Mine output fell by an estimated 4.5% in April and by 5.8% in May.
“In Peru, stoppages resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with operational issues/adverse weather that affected a few major mines, led to a 23% decline in mine output over the first five months, with April and May registering declines of 33% and 41%, respectively,” the ICSG reported.
Meanwhile, top copper producer Chile saw its production rise 3.2% during the period.
Mine production in the Democratic Republic of the Congo increased 5.5%. Indonesia’s output rose 8%.
As for supply and demand, the ICSG said the global copper market was balanced through the first five months of the year.
When accounting for changes in Chinese bonded stocks, the market was in deficit by approximately 30,000 metric tons.
Copper prices continue to rise
In terms of prices, copper has been one of the fastest risers in the metals complex this year.
The average LME cash price in July reached $6,354/mt, up 10.7% from the June average, the ICSG noted. The LME price rose to its 2020 high July 13, when it reached $6,545/mt.
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