Global – After recording a surplus in August, the global refined copper market swung sharply into deficit the following month, according to latest data from the International Copper Study Group (ICSG). As a result, and despite significantly increased secondary production from scrap, refined copper output lagged 181 000 tonnes behind demand across the opening three quarters of 2017; in the corresponding period of 2016, the deficit had amounted to 167 000 tonnes.
World refined copper production climbed 0.5% to 17.495 million tonnes in the first nine months of 2017, with a 1.3% decline in primary production to 14.378 million tonnes more than offset by a secondary production hike of 9.5% – from 2.844 million tonnes in January-September 2016 to 3.117 million tonnes.
‘Increased availability of scrap allowed world secondary refined production to increase, notably in China,’ the ICSG reiterates. And it adds: ‘Improved scrap supply is constraining world refined copper usage growth globally.’
World apparent refined copper usage followed production in climbing around 0.5% in the first nine months of this year, posting a total of 17.676 million tonnes.
Chinese usage (excluding changes in unreported stocks) remained essentially unchanged; there were increases reported for India and Japan whereas the USA, Germany and South Korea registered declines.