The Fastmarkets copper concentrate TC/RC index dropped to a three-and-a-half month low of $84.30 per tonne / 8.43 cents per lb on December 31.
Spot terms have been inching down since the start of the month, when global copper smelters started to fix annual contracts with suppliers and after major deals were signed during the CESCO Asia Copper Week in Shanghai in November.
Smelters across Asia have fallen behind the $80.80 per tonne / 8.08 cents per lb benchmark agreed between Jiangxi Copper and Antofagasta during that week, but with some reluctance; the number is at its lowest since 2013.
“It’s really difficult to negotiate another higher number,” one source at a Chinese copper smelter said.
First-quarter buying in full swing