Copper production overtakes demand
GLOBAL copper production will outpace demand this year and next as consumption growth slows, the International Copper Study Group says. The surplus will be 85,000 tonnes this year and 429,000 tonnes in 2009, the Lisbon-based group says in an e-mailed statement this week. Supply fell 37,000 tonnes short of demand last year, the ICSG says. The group counts stockpiles reported by exchanges, producers, consumers and traders.
A six-year rally in copper prices buoyed profit at miners including Santiago-based Codelco, the world’s largest producer of the metal. Mining companies are seeking to expand output after prices reached a record this month.
Apparent copper usage in China, the world’s largest buyer, will expand more slowly than last year’s 36 per cent, the ICSG says. Apparent usage is derived from domestic production, net imports or exports and stockpiles reported by the Shanghai Futures Exchange. ‘‘ China had a high base last year so growth will slow,’’ said Ana Rebelo, the group’s chief statistician.
Combined with a decline in consumption in the US, world usage will gain 2 per cent this year to 18.5 million tonnes, down from growth of 6.4 per cent last year, the ICSG says. Mine production will rise 6 per cent to 16.4 million tonnes this year, faster than last year’s 3 per cent. In 2009, output will rise 9 per cent to 17.9 million tonnes.
Supply of refined copper will expand 2.7 per cent this year to 18.6 million tonnes, and advance 7 per cent to 19.9 million tonnes next year, the group said. Bloomberg