Bloomsbury forecasts $9,000 copper price
by Gill Montia
A copper specialist from Bloomsbury Mineral Economics (BME) has predicted that the metal will reach $9,000 a tonne, or $4.08 a pound, by 2009.
Speaking at Mining Journal’s 20:20 Copper Day in London, Chris Welch put forward the case that the supply gap for the metal continues to be underestimated by many analysts.
BME has a sound track record on copper price predictions and the forecast will be taken seriously by many.
Expanding on his argument, Mr Welch explained that mine production is invariably over-estimated.
In addition, the figures do not take into account the amount of copper or concentrate held in working stocks, or material that is in transit or being processed.
Copper production could move into a small surplus in 2008 but taking these other factors into account the amount of the metal that is actually available to the market could be below requirements.
Copper consumption remains strong and older mines are becoming depleted, with grades declining sharply.
In addition, growth in Taiwanese and South Korean markets has been very high in relation to the developed nations, where a copper based infrastructure already exists.
According to Mr Welch, if demand from the economies of China and India rises to Korean or Taiwanese levels then the copper price could exceed $9,000 a tonne.
Stocks are expected to be at a low point late this year and copper availability is still likely to be in commercial deficit throughout 2008 and 2009. It may then achieve balance in 2010.
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