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March 2018 | Base Metals

Copper: Key takeaways from Madrid

Copper prices managed to end in positive territory last week, thanks to a solid rebound on Friday, triggered by the return to a more risk-on mood across financial markets. The appetite of dip-buyers keeps our view on the short-term outlook for prices positive. Longer term, we still think that the tighter fundamentals should extend copper’s upward trajectory towards 2020. There was plenty of bullishness at MB’s copper conference in Madrid last week, related to EVs on the demand side and to a tightening concentrate market on the supply side. These are already factored into our forecasts, but both medium to long term drivers, so we should be careful about getting too bullish about them too early.

Last week we attended Metal Bulletin’s 31st International Copper Conference in Madrid and here we summarise some of the key themes and our views on them.

Deficit in the global concentrate market to widen
Most participants concurred that the global concentrate market would tighten in the coming years due to the declining ore grades at major mines, a reluctance in recent years to invest in enough new projects, and robust concentrate demand growth.

MBR view: While there are different views on the concentrate market balance this year, in part due to uncertainty over the likely scale of mine disruptions, our model suggests a relatively small deficit of 100,000 tonnes in 2018. This takes into account increased supply, including...


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