Global copper mine production rises 0.5% in January

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copper smelter
Bombardho/Adobe Stock

According to the International Copper Study Group, global copper mine production in January rose 0.5% on a year-over-year basis.

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The global copper market was balanced through the first month of the year. However, when accounting for changes in Chinese bonded stocks, the market was in surplus by 65,000 tons.

Concentrate production during the month was unchanged, while solvent extraction-electrowinning increased 2%.

Chile’s production increased 0.5%, as lower growth by Codelco offset increases at Escondida. Aggregate production in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Zambia fell by 5%, while Chinese production fell 4%.

Indonesian production fell 4%, as its sector continues to be impacted by mines transitioning to different ore zones.

Elsewhere, output was down in Peru and up in the U.S., according to the ICSG.

Refined copper production rises 3%

Global refined copper production increased 3% in January on a year-over-year basis, with primary production up 5% and secondary production from scrap down 3%.

Chile’s electrolytic refined output increased by 40%, while its total refined production (including electrowinning) increased by 16%.

China’s growth was impacted by an earlier than usual Lunar New Year, according to the ICSG, with growth totaling 1.5%.

Aggregate production in the DRC and Zambia fell by 14%, while Japan’s refined production rose by 3%.

Apparent usage up 0.5%

Global apparent usage ex-China increased by 2%.

In China, apparent usage declined by 3% “mainly as a consequence of lower Chinese refinery output and a decline of 11% in net refined copper imports.”

 Copper prices slide

Like other base metals, the copper price has taken significant losses as the coronavirus outbreak has intensified around the world, even as demand in China has reportedly begun to recover.

The average LME cash price in March fell 9% from the previous month to $5,178.68 per ton, according to the ICSG.

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The 2020 high price of $6,300.50 per ton came on Jan. 16, while the low of $4,617.50 per ton fell March 23.

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