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Copper deficit widens despite secondary production gain

    Global – Despite a sizeable increase in world secondary production from scrap, total refined copper output trailed usage by 222 000 tonnes in the first five months of this year. This compares to a market deficit of 39 000 tonnes in the corresponding period of 2015, the International Copper Study Group (ICSG) points out in its latest statistical analysis.

    World refined copper production is estimated to have advanced around 3.5% in the first five months of 2016 to 9.592 million tonnes, with primary production climbing 3% to 7.953 million tonnes and secondary production from scrap jumping 5% from 1.557 million tonnes in January-May 2015 to 1.639 million tonnes this year.

    On a regional basis, refined output is believed to have increased by 8% in the Americas, 6% in Asia and 17% in Oceania while declining 15.5% in Africa and 3.5% in Europe. Refinery capacity utilisation increased to 83.5% from 82.2% when comparing the same two periods, the ICSG notes.

    In January-May 2016, world refined copper usage is understood to have increased by some 5% year on year as apparent demand surged around 12% in China. On a regional basis, usage is thought to have climbed 6% in Europe and 8% in Asia while declining by 20% and 4% in Africa and the Americas, respectively.

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