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Refined copper stats reflect scrap availability boost

Global – Secondary production from scrap propped up refined copper output in the first quarter of this year, according to latest figures from the International Copper Study Group (ICSG).

Primary production declined by 2% year on year to 4.744 million tonnes whereas secondary production from scrap soared 13% from 903 000 tonnes in January-March 2016 to 1.024 million tonnes in this year’s corresponding period.

‘Increased availability of scrap allowed world secondary refined production to increase, notably in China,’ it is noted.

Total refined copper production of 5.768 million tonnes compared to 5.755 million tonnes in the opening quarter of 2016. On a regional basis, refined output is estimated to have increased by 5% in Asia and by 2% in both Africa and Europe, while declining 12% in the Americas and 5% in Oceania.

Globally, apparent refined copper usage is estimated to have slid 3% from 5.767 million tonnes in the first quarter of 2016 to 5.604 million tonnes in the same period of this year, indicating a global surplus of 164 000 tonnes in January-March 2017 versus a shortfall of 12 000 tonnes in last year’s opening three months.

‘Preliminary data indicate that although world ex-China usage might have grown by around 1%, growth was more than offset by a 6.5% decline in Chinese apparent demand,’ the ICSG points out.

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