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Copper market to be ‘broadly balanced’ this year and next

Global – Compared to January-February 2015, global refined copper production from scrap edged 2% higher in the opening two months of this year to 630 000 tonnes whereas primary production climbed 4% to 3.137 million tonnes, according to latest data from the International Copper Study Group.

With world refined usage jumping 5% over the same period to 3.691 million tonnes, the market surplus was cut from 134 000 tonnes in the first two months of last year to 76 000 tonnes this time round.

Excluding China, however, world usage declined by around 2.5%, including drops of 8% in Africa and 4% in the Americas whereas the totals were essentially unchanged in Europe and Oceania.

Meanwhile, refined copper output posted gains of 9% in the Americas, 5% in Asia and 16% in Oceania but declines of 16% in Africa and 2.5% in Europe. Global refinery capacity utilisation over the first two months of this year showed an increase to 84% from 83% in the same period of 2015. 

Latest forecasts from the International Wrought Copper Council suggest the refined copper market will be ‘broadly balanced’ in both 2016 and 2017. Production is expected to edge 0.2% higher this year to 21.97 million tonnes prior to a further 1.7% increase in 2017 to 22.349 million tonnes.

Global refined demand is projected to climb 1.5% in 2016 to 22.038 million tonnes and a further 1.8% next year to 22.436 million tonnes.

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