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Antofagasta CEO says copper drop an overreaction, shares duly jump 7%

Shares in London-listed Antofagasta, the copper giant controlled by Chile’s Luksic family, jumped 7% in afternoon trade on the FTSE, one of the best performers on a good day for miners. CEO Marcelo Awad earlier told Dow Jones Newswires the slump in copper prices in the last few weeks is a market overreaction and it hadn’t seen any of its customers cancel or delay shipments.

Copper has slumped over 30% since peaking at an all-time high of $10,190/tonne in February and Awad added that European customers of Antofagasta (LON:ANTO) – after Thursday’s move upward worth £10 billion again – are nevertheless reluctant to commit to 2012 orders thanks to all the uncertainty in the eurozone. The Luksics could do with a bit of a boost: analysts say Chile’s richest family may have lost their way after buying control of Latin America’s largest container shipping company last month.

Fox Business quotes Awad: “I wouldn’t be surprised to see delay announcements, but this time people will wait longer as the cycle of the 2008 price collapse and revival was just ten months.”

Bloomberg reported yesterday the Luksic family became the country’s wealthiest by buying underperforming businesses and turning them around. With shipping company Cia. Sud Americana de Vapores SA, it may have lost its way. Guillermo Luksic, now chairman of CSAV, is following billionaire US financier Wilbur Ross in making a contrarian bet on the slumping shipping market.

Image is from an Antofagasta presentation to analysts dated June 21, 2011