NEW YORK (Scrap Monster): United States smelter and downstream electrolytic refined copper production remained at historically low levels in the first five months of this year due to a series of maintenance shutdowns by the three domestic smelters, as per latest monthly report released by United States Geological Survey.
According to USGS data, Smelter and ectrolytic refined copper production for the first 5 months of 2012 declined by 23% and 14%, respectively, from production in the same period of 2011. Although about 5,000 metric tons (t)less than the April level, domestic exports of refined copper in May remained high at 33,000 t, and year-to-date exports total ed almost 125,000 t, more than three times the exports for full-year2011.
Country's average daily mine production of copper in May declined by about 6% from the relatively high production rate in April but production for the first 5 months of 2012 was about 5% more than that for the same period of 2011.
Concurrently, U.S.-held commodity exchange inventories continued their downward trend. Combined COMEX and London Metal Exchange Ltd. inventories decreased by almost 41,000 t during May and at month end, were about 46% less than those held at year end 2011.
Year-to-date consumption of refined copper was essentially unchanged from that during the same period of 2011. Copper prices continued to trend downward throughout May, and at month end, the spot COMEX price fell to $3.36 per pound of copper, the lowest level since December 2011.
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