ICSG: Global copper mine production up 3.6% through July

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Although not accounting for more recent supply concerns, global copper mine production increased by 3.6% through the first seven months of the year, the International Copper Study Group reported.

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Global copper production rises through seven months

copper mine in Peru

Jose Luis Stephens/Adobe Stock

Copper concentrate production increased by 5.5% during the seven-month period. Meanwhile, solvent extraction-electrowinning declined by 4.3%.

Chile, the top copper producer, saw its output fall by 1% during the period. However, Peru, the second-largest copper producer, saw its output rise by 11%.

Elsewhere, Indonesia’s output rose by 61%.

Refined copper production rose by 2.6% during the period. Electrolytic production rose by 1.8% and secondary production from scrap increased by 7%.

Copper supply fears

However, more recently, the copper supply picture has not been as rosy.

As Stuart Burns outlined earlier this week, the copper market is showing signs of duress.

He noted the ICSG forecasts a global copper deficit of 42,000 tons for next year. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs forecasts a larger deficit.

“It says mine supply is likely to underperform, be late and, most importantly, a wave of refining disruption in China due to power problems is going to restrict supply and drive prices higher,” he explained.

“Just last week Goldman predicted $10,500 per ton, only for the spot price to break though it shortly thereafter.

“The difference between the price for spot or prompt metal and that for delivery in three months on the LME has hit a record $350 per ton, according to the Financial Times.”

The LME copper price did retrace last week, however. After reaching $10,275 per metric ton, the LME three-month price dipped back below $10,000 per metric ton.

PPIs for copper products

The Producer Price Index (PPI) for copper wire and cable has trended sideways over the last few months. The wire and cable index reached 400.0 in September, down from 402.7 in August. However, it is up significantly from 311.8 in September 2020.

After dipping to 361.7 in April 2020, the PPI for copper and brass mill shapes rose to 598.2 in September 2021.

Meanwhile, the PPI for copper and copper alloy pipe and tube has slipped from the June 2021 peak of 362.0 in June down to 347.4 in September.

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