Engineering & Mining Journal

APR 2019

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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80 E&MJ • APRIL 2019 www.e-mj.com MARKETS The International Copper Study Group (ICSG) released its preliminary data for December 2018 world copper supply and demand in its March 2019 Copper Bul- letin. The data indicates that world mine production is estimated to have increased by about 2.3% in 2018, with concentrate production rising by 2.2% and solvent ex- traction-electrowinning (SX-EW) by 3.2%. The increase in world mine production of about 460,000 metric tons (mt) of copper was principally due to constrained output in 2017 (mainly in Chile, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Con- go) and to an unusually low rate of overall supply disruptions in 2018. Besides the restart of Katanga's 300,000-mt-per-year (mt/y) copper mine in the DRC, no major new copper mines started in 2018. On a regional basis, mine production is estimated to have increased by around 10% in Africa, 3.5% in Latin America and 10% in Oceania, but declined by 4% in North America, and remained essen- tially unchanged in Asia and Europe. Preliminary data indicates that world-re- fi ned production is estimated to have in- creased by 1.5% in 2018 with primary production (electrolytic and electrowinning) increasing by around 2% and secondary production (from scrap) declining by 1%. On a regional basis, refi ned output is estimated to have increased in Africa (10%), Asia (1%), Europe (1.5%), Ocea- nia (5%) and Latin America (1%). Preliminary data indicates that world- apparent refi ned usage is estimated to have increased by about 2% in 2018. Chi- nese apparent usage grew by around 5%, driven by a 20% increase in net-refi ned copper imports. It is possible this develop- ment was infl uenced by a tightness in the availability of scrap in China. Preliminary data indicates that world ex-China usage remained essentially unchanged. Lower growth in world-refi ned produc- tion combined with strong Chinese appar- ent usage resulted in a defi cit of about 390,000 mt in 2018. After adjusting the world-refi ned copper balance for chang- es in Chinese-bonded stocks, the market defi cit was around 450,000 mt. As of the end of February, copper stocks held at the major metal exchanges (LME, COMEX, SHFE) totaled 395,125 mt, an increase of 44,629 mt (+13%) from stocks held at the end of December 2018. Stocks were down at the LME (-5%) and COMEX (-49%) and up at SHFE (84%). The Copper Bulletin and ICSG statis- tical database provide detailed data, on a country basis, for copper mine, smelter, re- fi ned and semis production and copper-re- fi ned usage, trade, stocks and prices. Visit www.icsg.org for more information. Supply Defi cit Looms for Copper Gold and silver prices provided by KITCO Bullion dealers (www.kitco.com). Platinum group metals prices provided by Johnson Matthey (www.platinum.matthey.com). Non-ferrous base and minor metal prices provided by London Metal Exchange (www.lme.co.uk). Iron ore prices provided by Platts Iron Ore Index. Currency exchange rates were provided by www.xe.com. (April 12, 2019) Precious Metals ($/oz) Base Metals ($/mt) Minor Metals ($/mt) Exchange Rates (U.S.$ Equivalent) Gold $1,289.80 Aluminum $1,843.50 Molybdenum $26,730 Euro (€) 1.131 Silver $14.95 Copper $6,490.00 Cobalt $36,000 U.K. (£) 1.309 Platinum $884.00 Lead $1,910.00 Canada ($) 0.750 Palladium $1,370.00 Nickel $12,945.00 Iron Ore ($/dmt) Australia ($) 0.718 Rhodium $2,980.00 Tin $20,850.00 Fe CFR China $93.79 South Africa (Rand) 0.072 Ruthenium $267.00 Zinc $3,010.00 China (¥) 0.149 The CME Group announced that COMEX Copper options open interest reached a record 62,220 contracts on March 18, surpassing the previous record of 56,674 contracts set on February 22. Aggregate call option open interest for COMEX Copper also reached a record 44,571 contracts, surpassing the prior record of 35,515 contracts set on February 22. Since the start of the year, COMEX Copper options have set 13 daily open interest records, including 12 consecutive record days in February 2019.

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