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China copper deficit of 2.65 mil mt in 2019: consultancy

Tokyo — China will produce 8.85 million mt of copper in 2019, up 4.8% on the year, while demand is seen up 3% at 11.5 million, generating a deficit of 2.65 million mt which will be covered by imports, consultancy Beijing Antaike Information forecast.

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China will use 7.37 million mt of copper concentrate for production, while usage of scrap is seen at 1.48 million mt, Antaike said. The scrap volume is down from 1.58 million mt in 2018 on tighter supply caused by scrap import restrictions since last year.

Of the 7.37 million mt of primary feedstock, around 76% will be imports. Chinese imports of copper concentrate are forecast to rise by 6% in 2019, with domestic concentrate up by 3%.

The increase in local and imported concentrate supply will support the 4.8% growth in production. China will import less refined copper cathode, Antaike said, forecasting imports of 2.9 million mt this year, down from 3.4 million mt.

Antaike's forecast shows Chinese demand slowing. The 2019 demand growth forecast of 3% compares with 3.8% for 2018, and 4.2% in 2017.

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