Global copper smelter activity extends recovery in October

Archive image of a heated copper utensil in a workshop in Budgam, Indian Kashmir. February 24, 2021. REUTERS / Sanna Irshad Mattoo

LONDON, Nov 2 (Reuters) – Global copper smelting activity extended its recovery in October, while nickel production rose despite sharp falls in China due to a power shortage, satellite data showed on Tuesday.

Copper smelter operations in China are increasing after the seasonal maintenance period in the third quarter, satellite service SAVANT and the Marex corridor said in a statement.

“The contrasting trends between copper and nickel smelting activity in China show how resistant (or vulnerable) each supply chain can be to external shocks,” said Guy Wolf, Marex’s global director of analysis.

Earth-i, which specializes in geospatial data, launched its SAVANT service late last year, tracking more than 100 foundries that account for 80-90% of global production.

According to SAVANT’s dispersion index, 50 points indicate that the smelters are operating at the average level of the last 12 months. The service has a second index that shows the percentage of active foundries.

Its global dispersion index for copper rose to an average of 52.2 in October, down from 49.3 the previous month.

As for nickel, the global dispersion index rose to 46.0 from 41.1 in September. In China, it fell for the fourth month in a row to 33.0 in October, nearly half the July reading.

(Reporting by Eric Onstad. Edited in Spanish by Marion Giraldo)

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