Global refined copper consumption increased by 1.7pc in January-February to 3.85mn mt from 3.78mn mt in the same months of 2020, the International Copper Study Group (ICSG) noted on May 20.
Still, refined copper production outpaced usage, and rose by 2.9pc to 3.98mn mt from 3.87mn mt during the same period under review. As a result, the global refined market was 130,000mt in surplus during this time frame, according to ICSG.
Refined copper production from primary sources rose by 3pc and increased by 0.6pc from scrap in January-February compared to the first two months of 2020. The rise in production was led by improved demand in China, which rose by 9pc in the first two months of the year. However, ICSG noted that demand and usage across the rest of the world remained muted and declined by around 6pc.
Production of refined copper in China grew by 5pc in the first two months of 2021 and increased from primary sources in Chile by 10pc as production ramped up after pandemic-related lockdowns in 2020. However, total refined production in the South American country fell by 8.7pc owing to an 18pc decline in refined copper production through electrowinning.
Refined copper production increased by 16pc in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on a continued rise in refining processes in the country and was up by 45pc in Zambia due to a speedy recovery in smelting operations from shutdowns in the previous two years.
Copper mines reported an overall increase of 3.5pc in the red metal’s production in January-February to 3.35mn mt compared to 3.23mn mt during the same months last year. Output from mines was led by a 90pc increase in copper production in Indonesia as the Grasberg mine continued to lift its output rates.
However, in Chile and Peru, the world’s largest copper mining countries, copper production fell by 2.6pc and 3.7pc, respectively, on lower output from the mines in these two countries.