During July, the International Copper Study Group (ICSG) released preliminary data through May for world copper supply and demand. World copper mine production increased by about 2% in the first five months of 2023, with concentrate production increasing by about 1.2% and solvent extraction-electrowinning (SX-EW) by about 3.7%: Production in Chile declined by 4.5%. This was mainly a consequence of the fact that a number of mines in the country were negatively impacted by operational issues, lower grades and reduced water supply due to a drought in the central region.

Indonesian output was down by 5% as Grasberg operations were temporarily disrupted by significant rainfall and landslides; Panamian production is estimated to have declined by 9% as output at Cobre de Panama was interrupted for 15 days as a result of export restrictions imposed by the Maritime Port Authority; United States output declined by 6% mainly due to reduced production at Kennecott as a result of weather-related issues and the technical failure of a conveyor belt; Chinese production was lower by 3% mainly due to operational issues at two major copper mines, Jiama and Julong.

In Peru, local communities’ actions impacted production at several mines including Las Bambas and Antapaccay. However, despite these constraints Peruvian mine production increased by 19%. This rise was primarily a result of additional output from Quellaveco and the continued ramp-up at Mina Justa.

Output in the DRC is estimated to have grown by about 13% due to the expansion of the Kamoa mine and new/expanded capacity at other mines.

Preliminary data indicates that world refined copper production increased by about 8% in the first five months of 2023 with primary production (electrolytic and electrowinning from ores) up by about 7% and secondary production (from scrap) up by 11%.

Preliminary data suggests that world apparent refined copper usage grew by about 4% in the first five months of 2023. Growth in world refined usage has been mainly supported by strong apparent demand in China. Usage in the rest of the world is estimated to have declined. Chinese apparent demand (excluding changes in bonded/unreported stocks), grew by around 9%. Net refined copper imports declined by 10% but refined production increased by 15%. World ex-China refined usage is estimated to have declined by about 2% principally as a consequence of lower demand in the EU, Japan and the United States.

The world refined copper balance adjusted for estimated changes in Chinese bonded stocks indicated a market surplus of about 397,000 metric tons (mt).

The average LME cash price for June was $8,386.23/mt, up 1.8% from the May average of $8,234.28/mt. The 2023 high and low copper prices were $9,436/mt (January 18) and $7,910 m/t (May 24), respectively, and the year average was $8,705.41/mt (1% below the 2022 annual average).