Copper has been known and used since ancient times and it is the most cost-efficient, durable and reliable metal used as an electrical conductor. Forecasted by ICSG, global consumption of refined copper is projected to reach 26.2 million metric tons by 2020.
According to World’s Richest Countries report of copper’s export we can see that the major exporter of refined copper is Chile, which is the biggest producer of copper. Beyond that, copper ore and copper concentrate export in Chile also account for a large share in the world (12.7%). Followed by Chile, Peru is the second large producer of copper in the world, and China, as the third largest producer of copper but did not enter the top 4 of the exporters – all productions are consumed by itself.
In 2016, world copper imports totaled US$123 billion. Due to the large amount consumption of copper, China ranks at top of copper imports (27%). The data shows that Germany is ranked second. (Data source from World’s Richest Countries report of copper’s import). This seems a normal thing because the develop of their car manufactures industry needs a lot of refined copper. And USA is at the third place of the importers of refined copper.
The copper price is falling since 2015. Here are the key factors: first, the exchange rate of copper producing countries have fallen. Second, because of the increasing copper demands, mining companies have to lower the costs to increase the profit margin through scale economy. Thirdly, energy prices have collapsed. However, with the ongoing industrialization of the developing countries, the demand for copper will continue to rise, bringing the copper price up progressively.
Some leading international agencies made the following copper price predictions in their forecast report:
The World Bank estimated that over the next decade, the copper price will grow to around $7000 per metric ton.
And IMF showed another forecast, they considered that the price of copper may decline to $5720 per metric ton by 2022.