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Scrap remains key factor in refined copper market balance

Global – In the refined copper market, secondary production from scrap propped up global output across the opening five months of the year to create an overall surplus of 14 000 tonnes as against a deficit of 282 000 tonnes in January-May last year.

Primary production declined by 2% year on year to 7.889 million tonnes whereas scrap-based production leapt 12% from 1.532 million tonnes in January-May 2016 to 1.71 million tonnes in the corresponding period of 2017.

‘Increased availability of scrap allowed world secondary refined production to increase, notably in China,’ states the International Copper Study Group (ICSG) in releasing the figures. On a regional basis, refined output is estimated to have increased by 4.5% in Asia and 2.5% in Europe while falling in the Americas and Oceania by, respectively, 10.5% and 8%. Production was broadly unchanged in Africa.

Worldwide, apparent refined copper usage is estimated to have declined by around 3% in the first five months of 2017 to 9.585 million tonnes from 9.866 million tonnes in January-May 2016. A 5.5% decline in China’s apparent demand more than offset usage growth of around 0.5% across the rest of the world, the ICSG points out.

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