SANTIAGO, March 10 (Reuters) - Global copper supply will remain tight and underpin prices, which will remain at strong levels in the medium to long term, Codelco Chief Executive Diego Hernandez said Thursday.
"The market is pretty tight, and as a result prices have remained high, higher than we expected," Hernandez, head of the world's No. 1 copper producer, told reporters.
"We are optimistic in the medium and longer term," he added. "Prices should maintain at good levels."
Hernandez had said on Sunday the supply-demand balance for copper would remain tight through 2011 and likely into 2012, though he saw possible volatility due to Chinese efforts to control inflation. [ID:nN06277851]
Hernandez said he saw potential future demand in the hundreds of thousands of tonnes for applications of copper in hospitals due to its antibacterial qualities.
He also sees increased copper demand for electric cars and wind farms.