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Global copper market in supply glut in 2020, 2021 – IWCC

A global supply glut for the copper industry is expected for 2020 and 2021, due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to London-based International Wrought Copper Council.

The council, or IWCC, said May 26 that in 2020, global refined copper production is expected to decrease year on year to 22.9 million tonnes from 23.5 million tonnes, while demand for the metal is projected to also dip by 5.4% to 22.6 million tonnes from 23.9 million tonnes in 2019.

For 2021, the IWCC is expecting refined copper output to increase to 24.3 million tonnes, with a demand also increasing by 4.4% to 23.6 million tonnes.

"These are unprecedented times and the copper industry is not immune from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," the IWCC said in a statement.

"The economic disruption and its impact on the copper industry has resulted in greater uncertainty in the factors affecting the supply and demand for copper," it added.

Demand from China, the world's largest copper importer, for 2020 is projected to decrease to 11.9 million tonnes from the previous year's 12.2 million tonnes and is expected to increase to 12.2 million tonnes by 2021.

S&P Global Market Intelligence's Metals and Mining Research team had earlier lowered its global refined output forecast for 2020 by 75,000 tonnes to 23.5 million tonnes due to falling concentrate supply, lower treatment charges and curtailments as a result of COVID-19.