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Scrap boost for refined copper production

Global – Global refined copper production from scrap soared 12% from 2.783 million tonnes in the first three quarters of 2013 to 3.113 million tonnes in the corresponding period of 2014, according to the latest set of figures released by the International Copper Study Group (ICSG).

With primary production climbing 7.5% when making the same comparison, world refined output jumped a total of 8% from 15.52 million tonnes in January-September 2013 to 16.815 million tonnes.

However, growth in usage was an even steeper 11% to 17.394 million tonnes, resulting in a market shortfall of 578 000 tonnes; this compares to a deficit of 133 000 tonnes for the opening three quarters of 2013.

The ICSG points to ‘strong demand in China and a shortage of high-grade scrap that led to the use of more cathode by semi manufacturers’. Over the two nine-month periods, China’s apparent demand increased by 19% – or by 1.3 million tonnes – based on a 20% increase in net imports of refined copper.

Worldwide, refinery capacity utilisation averaged 81% in the first three quarters of 2014 versus 78% in January-September 2013.

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