SHANGHAI, Jan 5 (SMM)－ Copper concentrate treatment charges (TCs) have come down to $76-85/mt over the past week, below the floor price at $87/mt set by China Smelters Purchase Team (CSPT) for the first quarter of this year.
SMM understood that most transactions were done by small to medium-sized smelters with sellers giving pressure to buyers. In fact, such market condition is likely to last until Chinese New Year in mid-February.
We believe the lower TCs were due to lower 2018 benchmark and better confidence among traders. In addition, smaller smelters did not stock up enough copper concentrate before the New Year. Larger ones did much of their restocking in September and October last year when TCs were higher and some have stocks that can last them until end of February.
Separately, some overseas mines have not confirmed the TCs for their long-term contracts following Tongling Nonferrous Metals’ agreement with Freeport. Market participants expected this could mean more spot availability.
SMM maintains a bearish view on TCs for long-term contracts in 2018-2020.
We also think that copper prices would go higher in 2018. Based on the financial model of three major smelters in China, we are bullish over Jiangxi Copper which has a higher degree of ore self-sufficiency, and Tongling due to its potential of 15,000 mt of copper foil output for lithium-ion battery.
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