Davis Index: Market Intelligence for the Global Metals and Recycled Materials Markets

Copper smelting activity continued to rise throughout the world in December compared with the previous month despite weakness in the US, according to data provided by the Savant geo-spatial intelligence platform.


Guy Wolf, global head of analytics at Marex Spectron (which analyses Savant data), noted that China along with other Asian countries continue to accelerate smelting at similar levels from November. In fact, 2020 global activity levels averaged above 2019 levels, due to China’s recovery during Q1 2020. However, smelting activity may soften as the Chinese New Year approaches. Wolf also pointed out that North America’s levels continued to alarm, following reduced activity for the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 


The global smelting activity dispersion index calculated by the platform read 55.2 in December, increased from 53.0 in the preceding month. The data reflected regional variance with Asia and Europe displaying strong activity, North America remaining weak, and South America’s activity falling in December.


The statistics revealed substantial increase in China where the index climbed to 55.5 from 48.6 in November, due to rising capacity utilization. North American smelters, still impacted by shutdowns related to the pandemic, fell 3 points since November, to 33.6, following a series of declines since September when its index stood at 56.5. European smelters maintained similar levels of activity with December’s reading at 59.9 compared to 61.7 in the prior month.


Asian smelting activity, excluding China, rose significantly to read 60.2 on the Savant platform in December compared to 53.6 in the prior month. Meanwhile South American smelters’ activity fell to 49.7 from a reading of 62.2 one month ago.

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