ICSG: scrap route offsets 2% drop in primary copper production

Worldwide: The global refined copper market extended its deficit from 143 000 tonnes in January-October 2016 to 175 000 tonnes in last year's corresponding period. At the same time, there was a surge of 9% - or 300 000 tonnes - in secondary production from scrap, according to the International Copper Study Group (ICSG).

With primary refined production dropping 2% year on year to 15.915 million tonnes, the increase in scrap-based production from 3.181 million tonnes to 3.481 million tonnes brought about a small gain in overall refined output - from 19.382 million tonnes in the opening 10 months of 2016 to 19.396 million tonnes in the same period last year.

‘Increased availability of scrap allowed world secondary refined production to increase, notably in China,’ the ICSG points out.

The main contributor to growth in overall refined production was also China (+5%), followed by India (+7%) and some EU countries recovering from maintenance shutdowns in 2016. However, overall growth was offset by declines of 8% in Chile, 4% in Japan and 10% in the USA.

On a regional basis, refined copper output is estimated to have increased by 3% in Asia and 3.5% in Europe while declining by 2% in Africa, 8% in the Americas and 10% in Oceania. World apparent refined copper usage is thought to have edged 0.2% higher during the first 10 months of 2017 to 19.571 million tonnes.

The world’s leading consumer China saw its apparent usage remain essentially unchanged whereas the rest of the world posted an increase of 0.4%, with gains in India and Japan largely offset by declines in the USA, Germany and South Korea.


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