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Exchanges report jump in copper stocks

Copper stocks held at the major metal exchanges rose 58% between the end of 2020 and the end of April, according to data released by the International Copper Study Group (ICSG).

Preliminary data in the ICSG’s latest bulletin also indicates that world mine production increased by 3.5% in the first two months of 2021, with concentrate production rising 5% and solvent extraction-electrowinning declining by about 3%.

The bulletin indicates that world refined copper production was up by about 2.9% in the first two months of 2021 with primary production (electrolytic and electrowinning) up by 3% and secondary production (from scrap) up by 0.6%. Chinese refined production growth is estimated at 5%.

The data also indicates that world apparent refined copper usage rose 1.7% in the first two months of 2021. A refined copper surplus of about 130 000 tonnes over this period is expected.

At the end of April 2021, copper stocks held by the major metal exchanges (LME, Comex and Shanghai) totalled 397 512 tonnes, an increase of 146 337 tonnes (58%) on stocks held at the end of December 2020. This overall growth camouflages a 166% surge in stocks held by the Shanghai exchange with Comex down 14% and the LME on a plateau with a slight 0.3% increase.

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