SANTIAGO – Copper prices fell 3.4 percent this week to $2.23 a pound due primarily to a stronger dollar, the Chilean Copper Commission, known as Cochilco, said Thursday in its weekly report.
The growing accumulation of inventories at metal exchanges and profit-taking by commodity investors also contributed to the price decline, Cochilco said.
In China, the world’s biggest consumer of the red metal, imports of refined copper and copper concentrate rose 55.6 percent and 93 percent, respectively, in February relative to the same month of 2015, exceeding market expectations.
“These figures have generated cautious optimism that Chinese demand will recover more quickly than forecasted at the start of the year,” Cochilco said.
Inventories of refined copper at warehouses controlled by metal exchanges worldwide fell by 2,738 metric tons, or 0.4 percent, this week relative to Friday of last week.
Accumulated inventories of refined copper are up by 133,695 metric tons, or 28 percent, since the start of 2016.
Separately, Chilean state-owned mining giant Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, said Thursday it posted a pre-tax loss of $2.19 billion in 2015, a result it attributed to a 20 percent plunge in global prices of that commodity.
CEO Nelson Pizarro said at a press conference that 2015 was “one of the worst years” in Codelco’s history, adding that “I hope it’s the worst.”
Last year’s result contrasted sharply with the company’s 2014 performance, when Codelco posted a pre-tax profit of $3.03 billion.
Codelco’s fine copper production totaled 1.73 million metric tons last year, up 3.6 percent from 2014.