At the copper demand level, it is difficult to increase the chain ratio in May and June, while the demand in the third quarter is facing a seasonal decline. However, the contraction in supply makes it difficult to reflect the expectation of weakening demand on prices, which will make it difficult for the entire industry chain business.
Demand off-season pressure is approaching
In April, the actual demand tracked grew only 3.47% year-on-year, down from the previous forecast of 4.5%, mainly due to weaker copper demand in the power cable sector. In May and June, demand for copper from copper cables was basically unlikely to improve. In May and June, copper demand was expected to grow at a lower rate than expected, while the demand for copper in the third quarter was expected to decline from the previous quarter.
From the perspective of sub-sectors, from the output data of compressor companies, the demand forecast for the air-conditioning sector can be maintained until July, and the demand data for the air-conditioning industry in May and June is expected to continue to increase at a high level.
In the field of power cables, according to the tracking of the State Grid, the main task of the State Grid in 2017 is that the “western vertical” and “middle vertical” projects, and the UHV is still the focus of work. In addition, it will promote the development of new energy sources, peaking and transformation, pumped-storage power stations, and end-of-power consumer substitution (coal-to-electricity, oil-to-oil, and gas-to-gas); there is hardly any other copper demand in the power cable sector.
As a whole, the current demand for electricity and air conditioning in the two major copper demand areas is still under seasonal support, but with the coming of the third quarter, the seasonal fall is expected to heat up.
Copper Supply Outlook Provides Support
From 2017 to 2020, the top ten copper concentrate companies currently only have Glencore to increase their copper supply in 2018 due to the resumption of mine production in Africa. However, due to the total amount of only 200,000 tons, while other miners have not increased their production projects, capital expenditures are limited under efforts to reduce costs, so the overall outlook for the output of the top ten copper concentrate companies is declining. In addition to the top ten copper concentrate companies, the total output of other mines in 2017 decreased to about 208,000 tons. In 2018, the increase was increased to 185,000 tons, but the overall increase in copper mines was less than expected. On the whole, the increase in copper production in 2017 mainly relied on the production capacity of the mines that had been put into production before, and the previously closed mines may resume production. In 2017, the growth momentum of copper mines was weak. Between 2018 and 2020, almost no new large-scale mines have been put into production.
From a long-term perspective, the top ten copper concentrate companies will produce approximately 800,000 tons of production capacity in the long-term, and other than the top ten copper enterprises, the long-term expected supply will be around 750,000 tons. These mines will be put into production almost to 2020-2025.
Since copper supply depends mainly on the limitations of copper concentrates, and copper concentrate prediction is difficult to effectively increase, starting from 2017, the year-on-year growth of copper concentrate supply will be relatively low as long as global copper demand is at a moderate pace. (2%~3%) growth, so that the supply of copper will soon become tense.
The darkness of the copper industry is still not over before dawn
From a global point of view, the potential flashpoints of copper demand are mainly electric vehicles, China's power distribution network reconstruction, and US infrastructure construction. However, these growth may be relatively remote, or not very solid. Therefore, the demand sector lacks a reliable flash point. In the supply sector, although the estimated increase in copper mines is limited, once the price is better, the potential mine investment will be relatively large, which will limit the performance of copper prices.