COVID-19-related shutdowns have slashed expected global copper supply by 4pc, zinc supply by 6pc, and nickel supply by 5pc, according to Glencore.
However, while worldwide shutdowns this year may have tapered copper, zinc and nickel supplies, global inventories, which were low pre-pandemic, should be able to avoid build-ups that would plunge prices.
According to Glencore, while COVID-19 is responsible for low supplies, it also curtailed demand, which, had the former not happened, would have resulted in oversupply. The company’s revised guidance for 2020 now calls for about 1.26mn mt of copper, 1.3mn mt of zinc, and 125,000mt of nickel.
The company moved quickly to reinforce liquidity, but it also cut its industrial asset capex to $1-1.5bn from $5.5bn.
Glencore has a nickel and zinc mine in Canada which suspended operations in March when the pandemic hit, but has started ramping back up. It lost fewer than 30 days’ worth of supply, according to the company.
Glencore has a copper and zinc mine in Peru, which halted operations on April 13. The moratorium, which was initially for two weeks, has been extended. The company is also in discussions with the Zambian government about continuing operations at its Mopani copper mine in the country.