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Refined copper market balance tips into surplus

Global – Secondary refined copper production from scrap was just 2000 tonnes higher worldwide in the opening 10 months of 2015, according to preliminary data from the International Copper Study Group (ICSG). The total of 3.23 million tonnes compares to 3.228 million tonnes in January-October 2014.

With primary production climbing 2% when comparing the same 10-month periods, total refined copper output increased by around 1.8% to 18.91 million tonnes. On a regional basis, Africa and Asia recorded production growth of, respectively, 5% and 4% whereas the Americas and Oceania posted declines of, in turn, 1% and 7%.

Refined copper output in Europe was essentially unchanged. World refinery capacity utilisation in the first 10 months of 2015 was also broadly similar to that for January-October 2014 at around 83%, the ICSG points out. Global apparent usage of refined copper dropped 1% in the opening 10 months of last year to 18.85 million tonnes; excluding China, world consumption declined by around 3.5% thanks largely to a 10% drop-off in European demand.

These figures therefore indicate a world production surplus of 60 000 tonnes in January-October 2015 as against a deficit of around 485 000 tonnes for the corresponding period of 2014.

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