Major copper producers lose record output

The world's major copper producers have lost a record amount of copper output due to strikes, power outages and low ore grades, according to research from Metal Bulletin.

The metal commodity site reported on Friday that the majors have failed to produce an estimated 1.85 million tonnes of copper so far this year.

The lower volumes in the first half have prompted several of them to reduce full-year output guidance, according to Metal Bulletin:

Rio Tinto, Imperial Metals and Nevsun produced less than 40% of their annual targets in the first six months of this year while first-half output from BHP, Freeport-McMoran, Glencore, Vale and MMG was below half of their full-year guidance. Fiscal year ran from July 2016 to June 2017. Rio Tinto produced 35% of the 525,000-665,000 tonnes of copper it had targeted at the start of the year. The company’s mined copper production dropped by a fifth to 208,900 tonnes from a year ago, mainly affected by a 39% drop of shared output from the Escondida mine, which was disrupted by a 44-day strike.

The red metal's price hit a three-year high last week, with December copper futures touching $3.1215 a pound ($6,882 per tonne), the highest since mid-September 2014.