Global refined copper production increased from January to May, led by a 13pc growth in US refined copper output after more smelters resumed operations in 2021 following restrictions and shutdowns in 2020.
The International Copper Study Group (ICSG) noted in its latest report that global refined copper production increased by 4pc to 10.27mn mt from January-May against 9.89mn mt in the same period last year. Production from secondary sources like scrap increased by 2pc in this timeframe.
Refined copper production in China grew by 7.5pc. However, it lagged in the world’s largest copper-producing nation, Chile, by 7pc due to a 13pc reduction in electrowinning production.
Copper consumption also increased in the first five months of the years growing by 4.5pc to 10.19mn mt over 9.76mn mt in January-May 2020. Still, ICSG noted that global copper usage remains below its pre-pandemic levels after declining by around 9pc (ex-China) in 2020. As a result, the market was around 80,000mt in surplus in January-May.
Global mines production rises
Mines around the world also increased their production in the January-May period with the global copper output rising by 4.8pc to 8.59mn mt in the first five months of the year from 8.20mn mt in the same timeframe last year. Mine capacity utilization rate, however, trended flat increasing slightly to 80.7pc from 80.5pc during the period under review.
Production in Chile continued to trend down and decreased by 2pc due to COVID-19 protocols restricting output in the early part of the year. However, Peru, which is the second-largest copper-producing nation in the world, boosted its output by 17pc as mines in the country ramped up their operations after COVID-19-related lockdowns.
In Indonesia, operations picked up the pace at the Grasberg underground mine, boosting the country’s red metal production by 72pc compared to last year.