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Global Copper Smelting at 2-Year Low Due to Maintenance Shutdowns

8 May 2023 1:38 pm
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Mumbai, May 08 (Commoditiescontrol):According to data from satellite surveillance of metal processing plants, global copper smelting activity decreased in April to the lowest level in two years. This was due to Chinese operations shutting down for maintenance and plants in North America slowing down.
Smelters in Turkey and Kazakhstan were also inactive at the end of the month. Earth-i, a company specializing in observational data, tracks smelters representing 80-90% of global production and sells data to fund managers, traders, and miners.
Its global copper dispersion index, a measure of smelter activity, fell to 44.0 in April from 46.8 in March. In addition, the regional dispersion index for North America dropped to 24.2, its weakest since July 2020. A measure of 50 points indicates that smelters have been operating at the average level of the past 12 months.
There is also a second index showing the percentage of active smelters. The dispersion index is likely to remain under pressure, with Indonesia's PT Smelting Gresik smelter due to start a 75-day shutdown this month while the Aurubis Pirdop operation in Bulgaria is also expected to undergo maintenance, the statement added.
"The most immediate impact of the decline in global smelting activity in April has been the rise in treatment and refining charges in the copper concentrates market," said Guy Wolf, global head of analytics at Marex. He added that the dispersion index has an inverse relationship with LME copper prices, which are expected to find a floor before rising in the year's second half.
In nickel, the global dispersion index slipped to 43.3 in April from 46.8 in March. In addition, the Chinese nickel pig iron (NPI) index dropped to 37.9 in April, its lowest since February 2022, from 45.4 in March.

(By Commoditiescontrol Bureau: 09820130172)


       
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