BEIJING (Scrap Monster): Antofagasta, the Chilean mining company, projects Chinese copper demand to grow by6.5% in 2012, while anticipating copper prices to remain volatile but ultimately justifiedat a high level.
Perhaps more bullish were the company's expectation that Chinese copper demand will grow, stated that they “don't see any way Chinese(copper) demand will be under 6.5%, and that's quite conservative. Most likely growth will ebb in the second part of the year... but the most important is real consumption, and we see that growing in China,” Antofagasta added.
Antofagasta, offered some firmly upbeat projections for 2012. The company stated that it sees refined copper market being in a 150Kt deficit in 2012, which compares to our forecast for a278Kt deficit.
“This compares to our forecast for Chinese refined demand growth of 6.3% in 2012. In terms of copper prices themselves, the company stated that “volatilitywill continue as news on renewed European problems appear and obviously hit copper prices... But we see that things have calmed somewhat...We still see a market that justifies high prices,” Barclays also stated about Chinese copper demand growth.
In terms of production expectations, the company stated that they forecast production to reach 700Kt in 2012 following 640Kt achieved in 2011. The ramp-up of their greenfield Esperanz a project will be key to achieving that, with some concerns that ore hardness may prevent the 80Kt y/y growth target for the year at the project.