Copper Market Forecast 2016-2017

During their meeting in Lisbon, the Statistical Committee of the International Copper Study Group (ICSG) has developed their forecast for the rest of 2016 and the coming year.
Rainer Sturm,

ICSG projections for 2016 indicate that the market should remain essentially balanced, while in 2017 ICSG forecasts a surplus of around 160,000 metric tonnes (t). This compares with a deficit of 55,000 t and a surplus of 20,000 t for 2016 and 2017.

World mine production after adjusting for historical disruption factors is expected to increase by around 4% in 2016 (to reach 19.9 Mt (million tonnes) benefitting from new and expanded capacity brought on stream in the last two years. While concentrate production is expected to grow by 6%, growth will be partially offset by a 3% decline in SX-EW production due to price related production cuts in the Democratic Republic of Congo and closures in Chile. In 2017 world mine production is expected to remain practically unchanged as although output from current operating mines is expected to improve, growth will be offset by a 6% decline in SX-EW production and a lack of new major mine projects. Peru and Mexico are the main contributors to growth this year with Chile expected to contribute significantly to growth in 2017.

World refined copper production in 2016 is expected to increase by around 2% year-on-year to 23.4 Mt. Although electrolytic production is expected to increase by 3%, growth will be partially offset by an anticipated decline of 3% in SX-EW output. For 2017, world refined production is expected to maintain a similar growth of around 2% with the anticipated decline in SX-EW output still limiting overall growth. In both years China will be the biggest contributor to world growth while total output in Chile is constrained by an expected decline in SX-EW production.

ICSG expects world apparent refined usage in 2016 to increase by 1.5%. This is mainly because apparent demand in China is expected to increase by around 1.5%, although underlying “real” demand growth in China is estimated by others at around 4%. Usage in the rest of the world in 2016 is also expected to increase by 1.5%. For 2017, the growth in world apparent refined usage is expected at around 1%.


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