HomeBase MetalsGlobal refined copper surplus keeps growing

Global refined copper surplus keeps growing

Emblem of the
International Copper
Study Group, which
monitors latest
developments in the
international copper
Lisbon, Portugal — MININGREVIEW.COM — 04 May 2009 – The international refined copper market balance for 2008 showed a surplus of about 250 000 tonnes, and projections for 2009 and 2010 indicate growing surpluses of at least 345 000 and 400 000 tonnes respectively.

These figures were released here by the International Copper Study Group after its meeting to discuss key issues affecting the global copper market.

“The ICSG recognises that the current global economic crisis has created a large degree of uncertainty in the global market, and its impacts on both the supply of and demand for refined copper are not fully known,” its press statement explained. “Therefore, we accept the fact that future market developments could significantly alter forward-looking market balances.”

ICSG projections of copper production have been revised downwards substantially since the October 2008 forecast, owing to announced cutbacks and closures at operating mines and delays or cancellations in project developments. “World copper mine production in 2009 is now expected to rise by 3.8% (590 000 t) to 16 million tonnes, compared to 2008. This is down significantly from the anticipated 11% growth projected in October.

Capacity utilisation is expected to decline to about 81% – the lowest level since 1989.

The current global economic crisis has significantly reduced world refined copper usage. The ICSG expects world refined usage to decline by a minimum of 4.3% in 2009, mostly owing to an average decline of 14% in three major markets – the United States, the European Union, and Japan. Growth in China of about 3% is expected to be lower than that in previous years.