- Top Copper Miner Almost Sold Out on Strong China Demand – Chinese copper demand has been so strong in the past few months that top producer Codelco has almost sold out of supplies for next year, well ahead of schedule, according to the chairman of the Chilean state-owned company. “It’s extremely strong, not only China. It’s extremely strong around the world,” Juan Benavides, who took over as chairman of Codelco in May, said in an interview in London. The wave of buying comes as prices have fallen 15 percent this year amid fears that a trade war between the U.S. and China could stifle global growth. “The trade war is not good at all,” but “demand is strong, inventories are low, supply is not growing as much as demand,” he said. He sees prices rising above US$3 per pound (US$6,612 a tonne) as demand outpaces supply, reports Bloomberg.
Copper metal exchange inventories currently represent rougnly 1x week’s consumption. This is fundamentally tight! However to date sentiment has been focused on fears that the trade wars, tariffs and sanctions would reduce demand for commodities. China’s behaviour in effectively buying out supply from one of the world’s largest suppliers says that China does not want its growth to be constrained.
BHP has also recently been making very positive outlook statements about the anticipated demand for copper tht may arise from China’s Belt-Road Initiative (BRI).