China is expected to need a record amount of copper

Usage projected to jump 8 percent this year
2013-02-27T00:00:00Z China is expected to need a record amount of copperJoe Richter Bloomberg News Arizona Daily Star
February 27, 2013 12:00 am  • 

China, primed by government spending to boost growth, will need enough copper every month to circle the globe more than 100 times.

The nation required 4.2 million kilometers (2.6 million miles) of copper cables in December, the most in nine months, to satisfy demand for electric grids, housing, autos and exports. That's enough to go around the 40,075-kilometer equator about 105 times.

Manufacturing and exports are growing at the fastest pace in two years, while cars are selling like never before in China, the world's most-populated country and responsible for about 40 percent of world copper consumption.

Copper use in China will jump 8 percent to a record 8.833 million metric tons this year, boosting global demand and creating a 6,000-ton product deficit versus a surplus of 216,000 tons in 2012, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Prices in London probably will climb 15 percent to $9,000 a ton in six months, more than double the advance for all of last year, New York-based Goldman said in a Feb. 19 report.

"The commodities that will do well are the ones that China doesn't have a hammerlock on in terms of their ability to produce, and copper certainly would be that," said John Stephenson, who helps manage $2.7 billion at First Asset Investment Management in Toronto.

Prices have slipped 1 percent on the London Metal Exchange this year after a 4.4 percent rally in 2012. The Standard & Poor's GSCI gauge of 24 raw materials has advanced 1.4 percent in 2013, and the MSCI All-Country World Index of equities added 2.9 percent.

LOCAL ANGLE

Copper is one of Arizona's major commodities and emerging mines in the state hope to export to Asian markets including China.

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