By Paul Ploumis
SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): The International Copper Study Group (ICSG) Statistical Committee which met in Lisbon, Portugal on 27-28 April 2017 has released the latest forecast on copper production and consumption for 2017 and 2018. The two day meeting attended by government delegates and industry advisors also looked into key issues affecting the global copper market. According to ICSG, world apparent refined usage of the metal is expected to increase by nearly 2% in 2017 and 2018.
The overall world copper mine production is expected to increase marginally by 1%, mainly on account of anticipated 5% year-over-year decline in SX-EW output. However, concentrate production is expected to remain at more or less same levels. ICSG forecasts lack of significant output increase from new projects or expansions in 2017 and 2018. Also, output from some SX-EW mines are expected to decline, which in turn will impact mine output growth during this year and the year ahead. Further, the supply disruptions during the first quarter of 2017 in Chile, Indonesia and Peru is feared to lead to reduced production growth.
It must be noted that world copper mine production had grown by 6% in 2016, aided by new and expanded capacities that came online in Mexico and Peru. Also, the frequency of supply disruptions at mines had witnessed significant decline in 2016, when compared with the year before.
ICSG predicts 2.5% jump in electrolytic refined production from concentrates in 2017. The refined copper output from scrap is expected to surge by 5% during the year. However, the SX-EW production is expected to decline by 5%. In 2018, the constraints in availability of concentrate may result in lower growth in electrolytic refined production. SX-EW output is expected to maintain the previous year levels. The production from scrap is likely to witness growth during the year. The increased availability of scrap will boost secondary refined production in 2018. The refined production by world countries excluding China may remain flat in 2017, but may see slight recovery in 2018. China will continue to remain as the key contributor to refined production growth in 2017 and 2018.
World apparent refined copper demand is expected to increase by around 2% in 2017 and 2018. The anticipated growth in world economy should bode well for overall copper demand growth. In addition, the infrastructure development projects in world countries including China and India are expected to sustain copper demand growth. Incidentally, China will remain as the biggest contributor to world copper demand growth. Apparent demand in the country is expected to increase by around 2.5% in 2017, but may remain lower in 2018. The demand growth by world countries excluding China may report marginal improvement in 2017 and 2018.
According to ICSG, world refined copper market is likely to end in deficit of around 150,000 metric tonnes in 2017. The deficit is likely to increase further to 170,000 metric tonnes in 2018. In its earlier forecast released during October last year, ICSG had projected surplus of 160,000 metric tonnes and a deficit of 100,000 metric tonnes for 2017 and 2018 respectively.
The ICSG is an intergovernmental organization that serves to increase copper market transparency and promote international discussions and cooperation on issues related to copper. Headquartered in Lisbon, Portugal, ICSG is the only forum solely dedicated to copper where industry, its associations and governments can meet and discuss common problems and objectives.