The global copper market recorded a deficit of 229,000mt in January-July 2020 while the nickel market was 33,000mt in surplus during the same period, according to the World Bureau of Metal Statistics (WBMS).
Copper output stable
WBMS noted that, in the first seven months of 2020, mined copper output increased by 0.1pc over the prior-year period to 11.74mn mt, despite COVID-19 related shutdowns. Global copper stockpiles at the end of July were 75,000mt more than those at the end of 2019.
With increased production in China and Chile, refined copper production in the seven-month period rose by 4.1pc from the prior year to 13.84 mn mt. However, global demand, tallied at 14.1 mn mt from 13.6mn mt last year, exceeded output. Chinese demand in January-July stood at 8,010mt, an increase of 16.1 pc over the same period in 2019.
In July, refined copper production was 1.9mn mt while demand was estimated at 2.1mn mt during the month.
Nickel output exceeds demand
In January-July, global refined nickel production of 1.29mn mt was met with an apparent demand of 1.26mn mt, an oversupply of 33,000mt. Comparatively, last year, the nickel market faced a shortage of 26,900mt.
Nickel mining output fell short by 177,000mt in the first seven months of this year over the prior-year period, amounting to 1.24mn mt. However, demand is expected to rise as electric vehicle production increases.
In July 2020, global smelter operations produced 210,800mt of nickel while demand was 204,900mt in the same month.