Global Refined Copper Market: Balancing Act Continues

Global Refined Copper Market: Balancing Act Continues

Easing of Refined Copper Shortage

The global refined copper market saw a slight easing in shortages as of September, with the oversupply diminishing significantly from August’s 99,000 tons to approximately 17,000 tons. This data, provided by the International Copper Study Group, indicates a near balance in the supply and demand for refined copper. However, the oversupply remains around 35,000 tons when considering the adjusted stock levels in China.

Mining Production and Electrolytic Copper Output

Copper mining production witnessed a marginal increase of 1.1%, while electrolytic copper output experienced a significant rise of 5.3%. In contrast, copper consumption grew by 3.0%. Issues such as operational problems in key copper-producing nations like Chile, China, Indonesia, Panama, and the US limited overall production gains in the first half of the year. Chile, in particular, faced a 1.9% production decrease due to quality issues and water supply challenges. On the other hand, Peru, the second-largest refined copper producer, saw a 16% increase in production, mainly from large mines. The Democratic Republic of Congo also reported a production increase of around 7% due to expanded capacity.

Year-to-Date Production and Consumption Trends

From January to September, the world’s refined copper production increased by 5.3%. This growth comprised a 4.8% increase in primary production and a 7.5% expansion in scrap-driven secondary production. China and the Democratic Republic of Congo led this growth with added capacities, although the rest of the world reported a 0.7% decrease. Globally, refined copper consumption rose by 3%, with China’s apparent consumption jumping by approximately 8%, excluding the unreported stock shifts in bonded warehouses and pending customs clearance. In contrast, consumption outside China is estimated to have declined by around 3%.


The global refined copper market is experiencing a phase of near balance, with production and consumption trends indicating a complex interplay of regional factors and operational challenges. The data underscores the dynamic nature of the global copper industry and its sensitivity to geopolitical and environmental factors. icon

    Subscribe to the most timely news about the metals market

    Metals Wire's weekly digest for mining and processing industry professionals, investors, analysts, journalists.