Fitch Solutions' latest copper supply and demand outlook shows that global refined copper consumption will grow steadily in the next few years, driven by demand from the power industry, rising output of electric vehicles (EV) and good global economic growth prospects. However, Fitch warned that in the next few years, the global copper market will continue to be under-supplied, as global copper consumption growth will continue to exceed supply growth, driven by China's power and infrastructure industries and the growth of electric vehicle production. According to data released by Fitch, global demand for refined copper will exceed production, and there will be a shortage of supply in the next few years. Fitch clearly predicts that by 2018, the global refined copper balance will have a gap of 247,000 tons, and it will continue to be under-supplied until 2021.
China's refined copper production is expected to maintain steady growth. Fitch also predicts that China will continue to be the driving force for global copper production growth. Copper production will increase from 8.8 million tons in 2018 to 11.4 million tons to 2027, an average annual increase of 3.1%. China's copper producers will prove more profitable than foreign competitors, mainly due to strong domestic demand.
Chile, the world's second-largest producer of refined copper, will benefit from strong copper prices and Chilean President Sebastian Pinera's agenda focused on foreign investment. Fitch pointed out that Chile's Codelco produced 875,000 tons of copper in the first half of 2018, up 2% year-on-year. It is expected that the country's refined copper production will resume growth due to rising prices and stable project operations.
Supported by government initiatives to increase production and reduce production costs, India is expected to become a star in the global copper production growth phase. Fitch expects that by 2027, India's refined copper production will increase from 925,000 tons in 2018 to 1.8 million tons, an average annual increase of 7.3%. Fitch pointed out that one downside risk was protests, some of which were violent activities and the subsequent largest copper smelter in the South, which was closed by Vedanta Resources on the grounds of the environment. Fitch kept a low profile on the prospects for copper demand growth in the United States in the next few years because it believes that some of Trump's economic plans will not meet current mainstream expectations.
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Shirley N.//SMC Editor