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ICSG: copper heading from shortfall to surplus

Global – Following on from a deficit of 423 000 tonnes in 2014, the world refined copper market will make the decisive switch to surplus this year, according to latest projections from the International Copper Study Group (ICSG).

Overall production is expected to exceed apparent demand by 365 000 tonnes – despite the fact that secondary production is forecast to decline by 2% ‘on continued tightness in the scrap market’. After climbing 7% in 2014, world refined copper production is slated to increase by around 4% to 23.4 million tonnes this year.

Primary refined production is expected to grow by 6%, benefiting from increased availability of concentrate. There was also an increase of 7% in global apparent usage of refined copper last year, but for 2015 the ICSG expects a meagre 0.6% growth on the back of a 1% gain in China and ‘essentially flat’ demand in the rest of the world.

For 2016, the ICSG is anticipating a reduced copper market surplus of 230 000 tonnes as production grows around 2.5% to 24 million tonnes and usage climbs some 3%, with underlying Chinese industrial demand growth put at 5% and the usage increase in the rest of the world at 2%.

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