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Jump in refined copper production from scrap

Refined copper production from scrap increased by 9% in the first five months of 2018 while primary production rose 0.5%, according to the latest monthly global report from the International Copper Study Group (ICSG).

The tonnage for secondary production for Jan-May 2018 was 1 835 000 tonnes, up from 1 679 000 tonnes while primary increased from 7 911 000 tonnes  to 7 949 000 tonnes. Combined, this means that the total refined production is estimated to have increased by 2%.

China’s impact

ICSG says China’s continuing expansion of capacity made it the main contributor to growth in terms of tonnage. 

Improvement on 2017 production levels reported by Chile and Indonesia is largely attributed to both countries experiencing strikes last year. Japan’s growth was because of maintenance problems in 2017.

However, the overall growth was partially offset by declines in India, Peru, Poland and the United States.

Increase in Africa

On a regional basis, refined output is estimated to have increased in Africa by 11%, 2% in Asia and 4.5% in Latin America while remaining essentially unchanged in Europe and Oceania and declining 3% in North America.

World refined usage is estimated to have increased by about 1.1% in the first five months of 2018 but ICSG says calculations are hampered by Chinese customs temporarily suspending the publication of copper products trade data since March. 

In the first five months of 2018, the world refined copper balance adjusted for changes in Chinese bonded stocks indicated a market surplus of around 25 000 tonnes.

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