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Copper price rises on Chile’s lean output

Quebrada Blanca mine in Chile. (Image courtesy of Teck Resources.)

The copper price rose on Tuesday after Chile, the biggest copper-producing country, recorded its lowest January output since 2011.  

Production tumbled 15% last month from December and 7.5% from January 2021, the bureau of statistics reported Monday, without giving a clear reason for the drop.

Copper for delivery in May rose on the Comex market in New York, touching $4.5850 per pound ($10,087 per tonne), up 2.9% compared to Monday’s closing.

[Click here for an interactive chart of copper prices]

The conflict in Ukraine could also drive copper prices higher, according to an S&P Global report.

Russia is a heavy producer of the metal and the probability of more sanctions against the country is highly likely as the invasion continues.

“Market sources believe the near-certainty that stricter sanctions will be introduced on trade with Russia could further squeeze supplies in global markets that are already tight, with deficits in some cases,” S&P Global says.

“The metals markets in the short-term remain at the mercy of the Ukraine situation, moving back and forth between risk-off and risk-on dynamic,” said Gianclaudio Torlizzi, a partner at consultancy T-Commodity in Milan.

(With files from Reuters and Bloomberg)