Copper: Preliminary Data for December 2015

The International Copper Study Group (ICSG) released preliminary data for December 2015 world copper supply and demand in its March 2016 Copper Bulletin.
Rainer Sturm,

In developing its global market balance, the ICSG uses an apparent demand calculation for China—the leading global consumer of copper accounting for about 45% of world demand—that does not take into account changes in unreported stocks [State Reserve Bureau (SRB), producer, consumer and merchant/trader]. To facilitate global market analysis, however, an additional line item—Refined World Balance Adjusted for Chinese Bonded Stock Changes—is included below that adjusts the world refined copper balance based on an average estimate of changes in unreported inventories provided by three consultants with expertise in China’s copper market. The resulting adjustments to world refined copper balance are discussed separately in italics below.

According to preliminary ICSG data, the refined copper market for December 2015 (excluding the adjustment for changes in China’s bonded stocks) showed a small apparent production deficit of around 47,000 metric tonnes mainly due to strong Chinese apparent usage. When making seasonal adjustments for world refined production and usage, December showed a production deficit of 163,000 tonnes.

The refined copper balance for the full-year 2015, including revisions to data previously presented, indicates a small production deficit of around 57,000 tonnes. This compares with a production deficit of around 420,000 tonnes in 2014. In 2015, world apparent usage is estimated to have remained essentially unchanged compared with that in 2014. Excluding China, world usage declined by around 3%. Although Chinese apparent demand increased by around 3%, usage declined by about 2% and 7% in the EU and Japan, respectively, and by 47% in Russia.

On a regional basis, usage is estimated to have increased by around 2% and 4% in Asia and Africa, respectively while declining by around 1.5% in the Americas, 8% in Europe and 55% in Oceania.


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