Output from copper mines, as well as refined copper production, increased in January over a year ago, according to the latest International Copper Study Group (ICSG) data.
Overall refined copper output increased by 3pc in January compared to the same month last year, as better primary refined copper production, which increased by 5pc, offset the 3pc decline in refined copper production derived from scrap. The early impact of COVID-19’s spread was reflected in China’s refined copper production, which mirrored growth of around 1.5pc in January—and is lower than it was during the same period in 2019.
Chile, on the other hand, grew its electrolytic refined copper production by 40pc, which was impacted by temporary smelter shutdowns. As a result, total refined copper production in Chile grew by 16pc in January 2020 compared with the same month last year. Refined output increased by 1.5pc in Asia, by 2.5pc in Europe, by 4pc in Oceania, and by 17pc in North and South America combined. However, it decreased by 14pc in Africa due to temporary smelter shutdowns, ICSG indicated.
Global copper mining production rose by 0.5pc in January 2020 compared to the same period last year, according to ICSG. Lower output from Codelco offset the production increases from other Chilean mines to keep production levels almost flat for the world’s largest copper producing country in January. In Africa, mining output in Congo and Zambia declined by 5pc during the month due to temporary shutdowns, while production in China and Indonesia declined by 4pc.
Copper mining output was flat in Mexico, increased in the US, and decreased in Peru, according to ICSG. Overall, copper production increased by 3pc in North America and by 2pc in each of Europe and Latin America, but decreased by 5pc in Africa, and by 2.5pc in Asia.
In January, when the impact of COVID-19 was limited to China, ICSG noted that refined copper balances signified a “balanced market,” with world copper usage increasing by around 0.5pc during the month compared to January 2019.