This Morning in Metals: BHP says copper output must double in 30 years; Iron ore prices set to rise; Upswing for tin demand?

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Demand for copper and the move toward low-carbon economies will require that copper output double in the next 30 years, said BHP’s Tariq Salaria, vice president for sales and marketing.

“Decarbonization and electrification are the main drivers for the future of metals commodities, delivering on the commitment of moves toward a low-carbon economy,” Salaria said in a video shown for the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Chain conference in Shanghai.

Even China, a top emitter of carbon and user of metals, will have decarbonization efforts like the world’s biggest economies and will drive the demand for copper, Reuters said.

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Copper price stays high

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange added 0.1% to sit at $7,682 a ton. On Tuesday, the price peaked at $7,743 — its highest since March 2013.

Vale’s output shortfall means iron ore price to rise

Reuters columnist Clyde Russell writes that Vale’s iron ore shortfall for 2020 will keep the pressure on iron ore price to stay high, as they have been on a record pace this year.

He noted these two price developments:

  • “Iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange, the main vehicle for Chinese domestic traders, climbed as much as 2.8% to 928 yuan ($141.45) a ton during Wednesday’s session, a record high and the seventh straight daily increase.”
  • “Spot iron ore for delivery to north China, as assessed by commodity price reporting agency Argus, rose to $137 a ton on Wednesday, the most since September 2013.”

Tin demand expected to rise

A recovery in tin demand is being seen as sales of electronics and appliances pick up because people are staying home for the coronavirus pandemic, and demand for tin is set to rise by about 6% next year, the International Tin Association forecast Thursday.

Demand for 2020 is expected to fall by 5.8% as the initial coronavirus disruption depressed sales, Reuters reports. A deficit in the global tin market is expected to narrow to 2,700 tons next year from a 5,200-ton deficit in 2020, the association said.

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