Chile’s copper agency said US-China trade war to hit metal price

Chile’s Ministro Hales mine. (Courtesy of Codelco via Flickr)

The ongoing trade war between the United States and China has forced the Chilean Copper Commission (Cochilco) to revise downwards its average copper price prediction by $0.06 per pound to $3.

The state agency also said it expected the metal’s price to climb back upwards next year, reaching $3.10 per pound.

In terms of output in Chile, the world’s largest copper producing country, Cochilco expects 5.7 million tonnes this year and 5.94 million tonnes in 2019. It also sees global copper demand picking up by 0.4% this year.

Speaking at a summit of the Pacific Alliance trade bloc in Mexico, Chile’s Finance Minister Felipe Larrain, downplayed the recent fall in copper prices, which are hovering around $2.80 per pound. That’s well below the $3.12 he forecast last month as average for the year.

Global copper mine production rose 1.2% y/y throughout April, according to the International Copper Study Group (ICSG) latest report. Total mine supply for the first four months of the year was up 6.1% when compared to the same period in 2017, while concentrates increased 6% y/y and SxEw output gained 6.5% y/y throughout the same months.

Growth in Chilean and Indonesian mine supply contributed to the strong Jan-Apr y/y uplift with output in Chile accelerating 15.5% y/y as output at Escondida continued to ramp up at a steady pace after last year’s strike action.

With files from Bloomberg.