Characteristics Of Copper
Copper ranks third in world metalconsumption after steel and aluminum. It is a product whose fortunes directlyreflect the state of the world s economy.
Copper is the best non-preciousmetal conductor of electricity. The metal s exceptional strength, ductility,and resistance to creeping and corrosion, makes it the preferred and safestconductor for building wiring. Copper is also used in power cables, eitherinsulated or uninsulated, for high, medium and low voltage applications. Copperis an essential component of energy efficient motors and transformers andautomobiles.
Supply and Demand
Economic, technological andsocietal factors influence the supply and demand of copper. As society s needfor copper increases, new mines and plants are introduced and existing onesexpanded.
Land-based resources areestimated at 1.6 billion tons of copper, and resources in deep-sea nodules areestimated at 0.7 billion tons.
The global production of refinedcopper is around 15 million tons.
The major copper-consumingnations are Western Europe (28.5%), the United States (19.1%), Japan (14%), andChina (5.3%).
Copper and copper alloy scrapcomposes a significant share of the world s supply.
The largest international sourcesfor scrap are the United States and Europe. Chile, Indonesia, Canada andAustralia are the major exporters and Japan, Spain, China, Germany andPhilippines are the major importers.
The size of Indian CopperIndustry is around 4 lakh tons, which as percentage of world copper market is 3%.
Birla Copper, SteriliteIndustries are two major private producers and Hindustan Copper Ltd the publicsector producers.
India is emerging as net exporterof copper from the status of net importer on account of rise in production bythree companies.
Copper goes into various usagesuch as Building, Cabling for power and telecommunications, Automobiles etc.Two major states owned telecommunications service providers; BSNL and MTNLconsume 10% of country s copper production. Growth in the building constructionand automobile sector would keep demand of copper high.
World Copper Markets
LME and NYMEX are the twointernational markets, which provide direction to the copper prices.
The eight leading refining nations,viz., United States,Japan, Chile, Canada, Zambia, Belgium, and the FederalRepublic of Germany account for 67% of total refined metal production.
Frequency Distribution of CopperSpot Prices at LME
Percentage Change 0 - 2 2- 5 5 & above
Monthly 46 36 21
Factors Influencing Copper Markets
Copper prices in India are fixedon the basis of the rates that rule on LME the preceding day.
World copper mine productionthrough exploration of new mine and expansion of existing mine.
Economic growth of the majorconsuming countries such as China, Japan, Germany etc.
Growth and development in theBuilding, electronics and electrical industry.
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