Bloomberg News

China to Keep Copper Supplies ‘Tight,’ Codelco Predicts

March 23, 2012

Codelco, the world’s biggest copper producer, said Chinese copper demand probably will limit supplies of the metal this year, supporting prices.

China is estimated to grow 7.5 percent in 2012, implying a “tight” balance between supply and demand that will be similar to last year, Codelco Chief Executive Officer Diego Hernandez told reporters in Santiago today.

Copper fell the most in two weeks yesterday on concern manufacturing is declining in China, the world’s biggest buyer of the metal used in power cables and electrical wire. The selloff was exacerbated after Melbourne-based BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company, said steel-production growth has slowed in China, Hernandez said. Copper futures for May delivery rebounded 1.1 percent in New York today.

“We still think that the balance between copper supply and demand is going to be tight,” Hernandez said. “That’s why we’re optimistic about copper prices this year.”

Codelco confirmed in a statement today that its annual output rose 2.7 percent to 1.735 million metric tons. Full-year net income rose to $2.06 billion from $1.88 billion in 2010.

To contact the reporter on this story: Matthew Craze in Santiago at mcraze@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net


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