LONDON, Aug. 25 -- Copper prices are widely expected to average around 320 cents a pound in 2010 although pricing will be volatile given the influence of financial investors and ongoing concerns over the macroeconomic backdrop, Chilean miner Antofagasta PLC (ANTO.LN) said Tuesday.
This is in-line with pricing levels seen during the first half of the year, when prices averaged 323 cents, the U.K.-listed miner noted.
According to Antofagasta, copper supply remains "under constraint" given the limited number of major new projects coming on-stream and the natural decline of grades at existing mines.
"During 2010 to date approximately 600,000 [metric] tons of expected global production has been lost due to supply disruptions, which, along with limited scrap availability, has provided support to market prices," it said.
Demand for copper--particularly from China--has meanwhile remained strong throughout the year-to-date, Antofagasta said.
"While imports of refined copper into China in 2010 have been below 2009 levels this is above most original forecasts...given the high level of restocking which took place during 2009," the company noted. "The decrease in refined copper imports has also been compensated by higher imports of copper concentrates and scrap into China. Demand from Europe and Japan is also starting to come back, after limited interest in 2009."