The International Copper Study Group (ICSG) released preliminary data for July world copper supply and demand in its October 2021 Copper Bulletin. It noted that preliminary data indicates world copper mine production increased by 3.6% over the first seven months of 2021, with concentrate production increasing by around 5.5% and solvent extraction-electrowinning (SX-EW) declining by about 4.3%. World mine production started to recover in June 2020 as lockdown measures eased and the industry adapted to stricter health protocols. However, government imposed restrictions related to COVID-19 and preventative measures implemented by the industry to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 have continued to constrain output in a few countries this year. Production in Chile, the worlds biggest copper mine producing country, was down by 1% in the first seven months of this year with a 2.2% growth in concentrate production being more than offset by an 9.8% decline in SX-EW output mainly due to lower SX-EW output at the Escondida mine. World refined copper production increased by about 2.6% in the first seven months of 2021 with primary production (electrolytic and electrowinning) up by 1.8% and secondary production (from scrap) up by 7%. Preliminary official Chinese refined production data indicates growth of 7%. Chilean total refined copper production (electrolytic and electrowinning) declined by 6.3% negatively impacted by a 9.8% reduction in electrowinning refined production. The world apparent refined copper usage increased by 3.3% in the first seven months of 2021. The COVID-19 related global lockdown has had a notable negative impact on the world economy and subsequently on key copper end-use sectors in all regions ex-China. Although usage started to recover in the 2nd half of 2020, global demand remains below pre-pandemic levels in most countries. The ICSG noted that world refined copper balance in the first seven months of 2021 indicates an apparent deficit of about 138,000 t.
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