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ICSG: refined copper market to repeat 2016 deficit

Global – Following a decline in 2016, secondary refined copper production is expected to grow by 4% worldwide this year owing to the ‘improved availability of scrap’, concludes the International Copper Study Group (ICSG) in its latest forecast statement. Primary refined production growth, meanwhile, is thought likely to be limited to just 0.5%, giving a global refined output increase for the year of around 1%.

The ICSG has lowered its expectations for world apparent refined usage this year to 1% from the 2% mooted in April. ‘We have revised down the expected growth for 2017 based on weaker than anticipated usage mainly in the EU and Brazil, and lower than anticipated Chinese apparent usage,’ it states. If realised, these projections would mean a refined copper market deficit for the year as a whole of around 150 000 tonnes – broadly similar to that recorded in 2016.

The ICSG prediction of a reduced market shortfall of 105 000 tonnes for 2018 is based on 2.5% growth in production and a 2% increase in usage. ‘Infrastructural development in major countries such as China and India will continue to sustain growth in copper demand,’ says the organisation. ‘Improvement is anticipated for the world economy for 2017 and 2018 which, although modest, should support copper demand growth.’

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