By Anil Mathews (ScrapMonster Author)
October 12, 2015 03:14:19 AM
BEIJING (Scrap Monster): Analysts expect China to make fresh investments to boost copper smelter capacity, despite predictions that copper prices are likely to witnessed further sharp fall in the months to come.
The country plans to expand its domestic copper smelting capacities in an attempt to reduce its dependence on imported copper. Also, the country will ensure increased supplies of copper concentrates by stepping up investments in overseas copper mines. The decision comes amidst sharp decline in copper prices. Incidentally, benchmark copper prices have dropped by almost 20% from the start of the year. The prices have slumped almost 10% during the third quarter of the current year. Moreover, analysts foresee further decline in copper prices during the last quarter of the year. Barclays predicts that copper prices may see further decline of 5% from the current price levels.
The country will continue to rely on imported concentrate. The country’s imports of copper concentrates are predicted to surpass cathode metal imports for the first time since 2006. The copper concentrate imports by the country are likely to increase further by 7% during 2015. The imports had recorded significant growth of 17% in 2014. The concentrate imports from Peru and Chile have more than doubled over the past three years.
Also, the country plans to commission almost 1 million tonnes of local copper smelting capacity before the end of 2017. The country’s copper smelting capacity has almost doubled to 6 million tons when matched with 2007 levels.
Meantime, the International Copper Study Group (ICSG) has revised its 2016 copper forecast. The group expects copper market to witness a supply deficit of nearly 130,000 mt in 2016. Earlier during April this year, ICSG had predicted copper production surplus of 230,000 mt during next year.