ICSG Copper Market Outlook Sees Supply/Demand Reversal in 2015
- Copper usage increased 12% in 2014 while mine production increased just 3%
- Production capacity to increase by 7% through 2017 while demand in China slows to 5% next year
- Copper currently rests in the middle of a bearish channel below the years average
The International Copper Study Group released their October Bulletin, providing a global view of supply and demand in the base metal’s market. The comprehensive review suggests that 2014 will conclude with refined copper demand exceeding production, while 2015 will find a supply surplus as demand lags production growth. With few suitable substitutes, the supply-side may face considerable obstacles as demand continues to expand.
Copper first became an integral part of national economies 10,000 years ago in western Asia and has remained vital to economic development as new and innovative applications have arisen allowing the metal to be used in mining, refining, recycling and transformational capacities. Despite the average dollars per tonne declining from 7000.55 in August to 6872.23 in September, copper usage has increased 12% during the first 7 months of the year. In contrast world mine production has only increased by 3% with the largest pick-up in refined production (+7%).
The shortfall in supply relative to demand in part comes from declines in production in Indonesia, Zambia and Australia due to export bans, operational failures and temporary mine closures. Threats to supply could persist into 2015 as the cost of powering mines by coal increases, political risks to security and transportation grow and FX risks remain if strong exports drive up domestic costs.
However, despite downside risks annual copper mine production capacity is still expected to expand at an average rate of 7% per year through 2017, with 56% of the growth to come from Peru, Zambia, Chile, Mexico and the Democratic Republic of Congo. From a demand perspective growth in China, which accounts for 40% of global demand, is expected to slow to 5% next year on a cooling real estate market.
With supply growth projected to edge out demand next year copper prices, as forecasted by the Chilean Copper Commission, are expected to average 12 cents per pound lower in 2015 than the current average for 2014 of $ 3.12 per pound.
At present copper is trading below the current year’s average and rests in the middle of a bearish price channel on a Daily chart. To trade with the trend, market participants should wait for price to retrace back toward the top of the price channel before entering the market. If price respects resistance, look for it to move back toward support in the direction of the trend.
Copper Daily Chart
Chart Created by Rob Pasche Using MarketScope2.0
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