SHANGHAI, Feb. 7 (SMM) – As most Chinese copper miners have gradually halted production for the Chinese New Year holiday, copper concentrate output decreased sharply this week. Meanwhile, copper smelters became less willing to purchase copper concentrate ahead of the holiday, turning activity on the copper concentrate market muted.
With LME copper fluctuating at relatively high levels, copper concentrate traders expressed low interest in replenishing stocks this week, which depressed market activity. According to SMM survey, although traders show high enthusiasm in exploring copper ore overseas, negotiations for copper concentrate TC/RC have been postponed following the holiday. In this context, the amount of copper concentrate arriving at Chinese ports has fallen sharply.
The divergence between copper ore suppliers and copper smelters on copper concentrate TC/RC remains large, and the negotiation is expected to finish in the middle or the second half of February. Spot copper concentrate trading volumes this week shrank from a week ago as TC/RC remained flat around USD 70/mt. However, markets are still optimistic over future copper concentrate prices. Inasmuch as domestic copper miners will largely resume production following the Lantern Festival, SMM believes that trading volumes for copper concentrate will remain limited through February.