SANTIAGO, May 15, 2012 (Dow Jones) -- International copper prices, while subject to sharp volatility, will remain strong this year, the chief financial officer of Chilean state copper giant Codelco said Tuesday.
Corporacion Nacional del Cobre de Chile, or Codelco, is the world's largest copper mining company with an annual output of around 1.7 million metric tons.
"We're still optimistic for copper prices in the longer term," CFO Thomas Keller told reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony at a public hospital where Codelco contributed with anti-bacterial copper surfaces and other implements.
He added that most of the volatility the red metal is seeing is in reaction to developments in Europe.
Keller reiterated Codelco's view that copper market fundamentals remain solid, with demand for the industrial metal outpacing supply.
Regarding the company's output this year, Keller, echoing similar statements made by the company's chief executive Diego Hernandez, said Codelco will likely produce 1.7 million tons of copper this year, down from the 1.735 million it produced in 2011.