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Copper market swings into surplus, says ICSG

Global – World refined copper production from scrap exceeded 1 million tonnes in the first quarter of this year and helped ensure a significant overall market surplus, according to data from the International Copper Study Group (ICSG).

Total refined production increased around 5% to 5.556 million tonnes, with primary production climbing 3% to 4.552 million tonnes while secondary production from scrap leapt 12% from 896 000 tonnes in the first three months of 2014 to 1.004 million tonnes in the corresponding period this year.

The refinery capacity utilisation rate increased to 81% from 80% in the same period of 2014. World apparent usage of refined copper is estimated to have declined by around 3% from 5.542 million tonnes in the first quarter of 2014 to 5.389 million tonnes in January-March this year, with China recording a drop of 4% based on a 20% decrease in net imports from the high level in early 2014.

These figures indicate, therefore, that the world refined copper market switched from a deficit of 233 000 tonnes in the opening quarter of 2014 to a surplus of 167 000 tonnes in the corresponding period this year, the ICSG points out.

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