The annual production of refined copper in Asian giants China and India more than tripled during 1999-2008, according to International Copper Study Group (ICSG).
In its latest statistical year book, the Portugal-based intergovernmental organization covered world copper supply and demand data for the decade ending 2008.
In the decade, the world copper mine production rose by 21% from 12.8 million tonnes to 15.5 million tonnes. On a regional basis, Africa, Latin America and Asia experienced the highest rise of 89%, 35% and 29% respectively.
According to the year book, the annual world refined copper production increased by 25% in the decade, with an average growth rate of 2.6%. China’s production increased by 2.6 million tonnes to 3.8 million tonnes and India by 470,000 tonnes to 675,000 tonne. While countries like Chile, Australia, Japan and South Korea also witnessed significant increase, the US experienced a declined of 41% in refined copper production.
During the period, world refined copper usage increased by 26% from 14.3 Mt to 18 Mt. Growth was largely driven by China, given that the global usage growth rate excluding China was only 0.1% during the period.
China’s usage during the decade increased by around 3.7 million tonnes or 245% while that of Asia, excluding China, increased by 680,000 tonnes or 18%. Against this, usage decreased in the US by 1.2 million tonnes or 28% and in the EU-15 countries by 440,000 tonne or 11%.
The ICSG statistical year book was released at the end of July. Earlier, in the month the study group released its monthly bulletin with preliminary data for April 2009.
According to the bulletin, the world refined copper market indicated a deficit of around 120,000 t for April 2009. The deficit was caused by high net Chinese imports and the consequent rise in their monthly apparent usage (which does not include unreported stocks).
For the first four months of 2009, the world copper usage declined by 2.9% compared with the same period in 2008. The pace of decline was supported by a nearly 38% rise in Chinese apparent usage against a decline of 18.5% in the remaining countries.
In developed markets, the usage remained sluggish as it experienced a decline of 23%, 42% and 23% in US, Japan and EU-15 countries.
While China apparent usage surged, the actual usage as indicated by the production of semi manufactures increased only by 2% in the four months. The net imports of refined copper in the duration increased by 119% more than offsetting a 42% decline in the scrap imports compared with the first four months of 2008.