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Copper production deficit widens in 2014

Global – There was a world refined copper production deficit of 475 000 tonnes last year compared to a shortfall of 270 000 tonnes in 2013, according to preliminary data from the International Copper Study Group (ICSG).

Conversely, the balance for December last year showed an apparent production surplus of 104 000 tonnes. ‘Despite strong Chinese apparent demand, refined usage was weak in major consuming regions during the year-end holiday period,’ the ICSG notes. Across 2014 as a whole, world apparent usage is estimated to have increased by 8% – or 1.7 million tonnes – to 23 million tonnes.

China’s apparent demand leapt 13.5% or by around 1.3 million tonnes, based on a 14% increase in net imports of refined copper. Excluding China, world usage climbed 3% last year, supported mainly by apparent usage growth of 6% in the EU and 7.5% in Japan, as well as by a gain of 5.5% in other Asian countries.

In contrast, refined copper consumption in the USA declined 1.5%. Also in 2014, refined copper production is estimated to have risen 7% worldwide from 21.1 million tonnes to 22.6 million tonnes: primary production advanced 8% to 18.7 million tonnes whereas secondary production from scrap edged up only 1% to 3.862 million tonnes. 

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