Chile’s Codelco, the world’s biggest copper miner, has proposed a premium of $140 a tonne for 2023 supplies to at least two Chinese customers, a 33.3% increase from this year, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
The proposed premium, up from $105 a tonne this year, is paid on top of London Metal Exchange (LME) copper prices for physical delivery of copper cathodes into China, the world’s top copper consumer, and is a widely watched industry benchmark.
Codelco declined to comment.
Codelco’s offer is also up from $88 a tonne in 2021.
The move continues a trend of higher premiums due to solid copper demand and very low inventories.
Refined copper stockpiles in Shanghai Futures Exchange and bonded warehouses combined were at 84,164 tonnes on Friday, not far from October’s record low of 72,159 tonnes.
Last month, Codelco raised its premiums for sales to Europe to a record $234 a tonne for 2023, up 83% from 2022.
That comes against the backdrop of rising production costs amid soaring energy prices and tightened supply, with consumers shunning metal from Russia.
Copper buyers in China, anticipating an increase in premiums from major miners, have said they might raise their purchases of Russian materials.
The premium offered to Chinese clients is in line with the current Yangshan premium – paid on top of LME prices to import copper through the Yangshan bonded warehouse zone – of $144.50 a tonne, as assessed by industry pricing and information provider SMM on Monday.
(By Mai Nguyen, Siyi Liu and Fabian Cambero; Editing by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter)