SHANGHAI, Mar. 21 (SMM) –With regard to future copper price trends, the latest SMM survey of 21 major domestic copper smelters revealed the following insights:
Based on the survey, 52% of the copper smelters SMM contacted believe copper prices will fluctuate near current values for the foreseeable future. Mildly recovering US economy and the approval of second Greek bailout to avoid a messy default can boost copper prices somehow. Nevertheless, Chinese copper consumption remains sluggish, while increasing copper inventories also impose great pressures to copper prices. Besides, downstream producers generally increased buying when copper prices fell near RMB 58,500/mt but stayed out of the market when prices rose above RMB 60,000/mt. Most of these smelters expect LME copper prices will fluctuate between USD 8,200-8,700/mt for the near future.
19% of the copper smelters SMM surveyed are optimistic about future copper prices. Copper prices are well supported at the low-end since domestic copper consumption improves slowly. Moreover, LME copper inventories have recently been falling sharply, and spot copper in London have been trading at premiums. Combined with rising technical indicators, these smelters predict LME copper prices are likely to move towards USD 8,800/mt in the near future.
10% of these surveyed smelters are pessimistic about the outlook. China has cut its GDP growth target to 7.5% for 2012 while continuing its efforts in regulating the housing market, negative news for copper, which is widely used in the construction sector. In addition, domestic copper inventory pressures are high at present. As such, copper prices are expected to fall.
The remaining 19% copper smelters are unable to predict future copper prices due to unclear guidance.