Bloomberg News

BHP Billiton Quarterly Copper Production Beats Analyst Forecasts

July 18, 2012

BHP Billiton Plc, the world’s largest mining company by market capitalization, said second- quarter copper production rose 15 percent from a year earlier.

Copper production reached 312,500 metric tons, the Melbourne-based miner said today in a statement. That’s above the 303,700 ton median estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

The global copper surplus will total 18,500 tons, according to the median of 22 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg, 85 percent less than a January forecast of 124,000 tons. Barclays Plc expects shortages in the first half of next year and Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co. anticipate an annual deficit. Prices will rally as much as 14 percent to $8,700 a ton by Dec. 31, the median in a survey of 15 analysts shows.

Copper stockpiles monitored by the London Metal Exchange rose 0.3 percent to 253,575 tons today and have declined 45 percent in the past year, according to bourse data.

The price of copper for three-month delivery was little changed at $7,590 a ton by 1:10 p.m. on the London Metal Exchange.

Copper output for Rio Tinto Group (RIO), the world’s third- largest mining company, rose 5 percent to 133,500 tons in the quarter compared with the same period in 2011, the company said yesterday in its production report.

BHP Billiton said its zinc output fell 11 percent in the quarter compared with last year and lead production rose 9 percent. Zinc dropped “as mining progressed through a copper- rich ore zone,” according to the report.

Zinc and lead prices were down in LME trading today.

To contact the reporters on this story: Tom Metcalf in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at

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