SHANGHAI, Nov. 12 (SMM) – The European Commission lowered the 2014 euro zone economic growth forecast last week, while caution prevailed ahead of the release of US non-farm payroll figures and the Third Plenary Session of 18th CPC Central Committee. As a result, LME copper prices remained range-bound and touched a low of $7,093 per tonne. SME mines overseas refrained from selling and held quotations firm, while domestic traders and smelters were less interest in importing concentrate.
Spot TC/RCs of copper concentrate remained little changed in the $100-110-per-tonne range last week, but spot trading was quiet. High import volumes of copper concentrate during the third quarter of 2013 have resulted in high inventories at smelters, so Chinese smelters are expected to focus on depleting existing stocks in Q4. With 2014 copper concentrate long-term contract negotiations now under way, lower import volumes will help give Chinese smelters a bigger say in negotiations. Many traders hoped to keep TC/RCs for copper concentrate at high levels given high concentrate stocks in foreign markets and limited imports by domestic smelters.
Prices for copper concentrate (20%) were 85% of refined copper prices last week, and 86-87% of refined copper prices for copper concentrate (25%). In some remote areas, mining enterprises have halted operations due to cold weather. Producers of low-grade ore were facing tough conditions given weak copper prices, so some may now choose to suspend production should copper prices fall further.