SMM, 8 April:
In March 2020, SMM's electrolytic copper production in China was 743700 tons, an increase of 8.87% over the previous month and a decrease of 0.98% from the same period last year. In the first quarter, SMM China's electrolytic copper production totaled 2.1527 million tons, down 2.46 percent from the same period last year. After the problem of sulfuric acid reservoir expansion was alleviated, except for the routine maintenance of some refineries, the primary smelting part of the refinery basically returned to normal in March, and the recovery rate of some refineries was faster than expected after the maintenance, which led to a significant recovery in domestic electrolytic copper production in March. In addition, as the domestic economy was hit by the epidemic in the first quarter, copper smelting enterprises as the pillar of the local economy also need to maintain production stability. However, due to the sharp narrowing or even upside down of the price gap between refined waste and copper in March, as well as the impact of the epidemic on source countries such as Malaysia, part of the production of recycled smelting in March is still in a state of contraction.
Although the problem of sulfuric acid storage improved in March, SMM learned that the decline of domestic sulfuric acid prices, especially in the northern region, was obvious, small and medium-sized refineries generally reflected that they were squeezed by large profits, and some refineries in the north would be overhauled in the near future to adjust them. On the other hand, since late March, the epidemic situation in major mining countries such as Peru and Chile has entered a period of development, and copper concentrate production activities and port transportation have been disrupted. Taking into account factors such as the transport cycle, it is expected that the supply of copper raw materials may be tense from May, affecting domestic electrolytic copper production.
According to the refinery scheduling plan, SMM expects domestic electrolytic copper production to be 741000 tons in April 2020, down 0.36 percent from the previous month, an increase of 4.88 percent over the same period last year. By April, the cumulative output of electrolytic copper was 2.8937 million tons, down 0.68 percent from the same period last year. Although many refineries carried out routine repairs in April, electrolytic copper production is expected to be roughly the same as in March as new capacity continues to crawl and the impact of the epidemic recedes.