Copper

ICSG projections for 2016 indicate that the market should remain essentially balanced, while in 2017 ICSG forecasts a surplus of around 160,000 metric tonnes (t). This compares with a deficit of 55,000 t and a surplus of 20,000 t for 2016 and 2017, respectively, forecast at our March 2016 meeting. Upward revisions have been made for both production and usage in view of better than expected actual growth so far this year.
In developing its projections, ICSG recognizes that global market balances can vary from those projected owing to numerous factors that could alter projections for both production and usage. In this context it can be noted that actual market balance outcomes have on recent occasions deviated significantly from ICSG market balance forecasts due to unforeseen developments.
World mine production after adjusting for historical disruption factors is expected to increase by around 4% in 2016 (to reach 19.9 Mt (million tonnes) benefitting from new and expanded capacity brought on stream in the last two years. While concentrate production is expected to grow by 6%, growth will be partially offset by a 3% decline in SX-EW production due to price related production cuts in the Democratic Republic of Congo and closures in Chile. In 2017 world mine production is expected to remain practically unchanged as although output from current operating mines is expected to improve, growth will be offset by a 6% decline in SX-EW production and a lack of new major mine projects. Peru and Mexico are the main contributors to growth this year with Chile expected to contribute significantly to growth in 2017.
World refined copper production in 2016 is expected to increase by around 2% year-on-year to 23.4 Mt. Although electrolytic production is expected to increase by 3%, growth will be partially offset by an anticipated decline of 3% in SX-EW output. For 2017, world refined production is expected to maintain a similar growth of around 2% with the anticipated decline in SX-EW output still limiting overall growth. In both years China will be the biggest contributor to world growth while total output in Chile is constrained by an expected decline in SX-EW production.
ICSG expects world apparent refined usage in 2016 to increase by 1.5%. This is mainly because apparent demand in China is expected to increase by around 1.5%, although underlying “real” demand growth in China is estimated by others at around 4%. Usage in the rest of the world in 2016 is also expected to increase by 1.5%. For 2017, the growth in world apparent refined usage is expected at around 1%.

Forecast to 2017
Regions (1000t) Mine Production Refined Production Refined Usage
2015 2016 2017 2015 2016 2017 2015 2016 2017
Africa 1,896 1,829 1,901 1,384 1,222 1,250 258 233 227
North America 2,708 2,880 2,885 1,906 2,043 2,046 2,317 2,312 2,353
Latin Amrica 7,895 8,266 8,664 3,312 3,273 3,119 497 456 454
Asean-10 / Oceania 1,906 2,119 2,272 979 1,063 1,160 953 1,060 1,096
Asia ex Asean/CIS 2,376 2,449 2,474 11,110 11,664 12,092 14,845 15,109 15,189
Asia-CIS 618 677 738 398 420 433 103 103 103
EU 857 880 896 2,731 2,675 2,746 3,215 3,240 3,298
Europe Others 872 837 872 1,062 1,032 1,094 847 879 908
TOTAL 19,128 19,936 20,702 22,883 23,393 23,940 23,035 23,391 23,628
World Adjusted 1/2/ 19,128 19,884 19,878 22,883 23,383 23,791 23,035 23,391 23,628
% Change 3.80% 4.00% 0.00% 1.80% 2.20% 1.70% 0.70% 1.50% 1.00%
World Refined Balance (china apparent usage basis) -153 -8 163
World Refined Balance Adjusted for Chinese Bonded Stocks Change /3 -256

Source: International Copper Study Group – Copper Market Forecast 2016/2017