China Copper mine output rises sharply in Jan-July; usage up 25% y-o-y: ICSG
BEIJING (Scrap Monster): Mainland China's copper mine production advanced sharply by 25% year-on-year in the first seven months of this year while its apparent usage also rose by 25%, as per latest data released by the International Copper Study Group (ICSG) in its October 2012 Copper Bulletin.
According to preliminary ICSG data, the refined copper market balance for July 2012 showed a production deficit of 23,000 metric tonnes (t). When making seasonal adjustments for world refined production and usage, July showed a production deficit of 8,000 t.
The refined copper balance for the first seven month of 2012, including revisions to data previously presented, indicates a production deficit of 524,000 t (a seasonally adjusted deficit of 333,000 t). This compares with a production deficit of 73,000 t (a seasonally adjusted surplus of 117,000 t) in the same period of 2011.
In the first seven months of 2012, world apparent usage grew by 6.2% compared with that in the same period of 2011: A growth of 25% in China’s apparent usage more than offset an aggregated decline of 7% in usage in the European Union and Japan. China’s apparent usage growth reflects a year-on-year 70% increase in net imports of refined copper.
However, anecdotal evidence suggests that the high import level in the first months of 2012 was accompanied by increased inventories held in bonded warehouses. On a regional basis, usage remained practically unchanged in the Americas and in Asia ex-China, and declined by 10% in Europe, 10.5% in Oceania, and 10% in Africa.
In the first seven months of 2012, world mine production increased by 2.5% compared with production in the same period of 2011. Concentrate production increased by 1% while solvent extraction-electrowinning (SX-EW) was up by 8%. Increases in Chile (3%), China (25%), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (22%), Mexico (23%) and Peru (4.5%) more than offset declines in Indonesia (44%) and Zambia (10%).
On a regional basis, production rose by 2% in Africa, 1% in Asia, 3% in Europe and 4% in the Americas, but declined by 3% in Oceania.The average world mine capacity utilization rate for the first seven months of 2012 remained practically unchanged at around 77.5%.
World refined production increased by 2.2% in the first seven months of 2012 compared with refined production in the same period of 2011: primary production was up by 2% (mainly due to the increase in electrowon production), and secondary production (from scrap) increased by 3.3%.
The main contributors to growth were China (+9.5%), Japan (+17%) and the DRC (+31%), with production declining by 5% in Chile, 3% in the United States (owing to a series of smelter maintenance shutdowns), and by 86% in the Philippines (owing to a fire at the smelter). The average world refinery capacity utilization rate for the first seven months of 2012 was 77.5% as compared to 78.8% in the same period of 2011.
The average LME cash price for September 2012 was US$8,068.38 per tonne, up from the August average of US$7,492.45 per tonne. The 2012 high and low copper prices through the end of September were US$8,658 and US$7,251.5 per tonne, respectively, and the average was US$7,963.65 per tonne.
As of the end of September, copper stocks held at the major metal exchanges (LME, COMEX, SHFE) totalled 431,711 t, a decline of 112,900 t from stocks held at the end of December 2011 and a decrease of 2,566 t from stock levels at the end of August 2012. Compared with the August levels, stocks were down at the LME and Comex and up at SHFE.
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