The annual gathering in the Chilean capital on April 7-12 is traditionally characterized by strong attendance by miners from copper-rich South America and thus typically boasts a positive outlook for copper. But sentiment this year was a lot more muted.
"This Cesco is more bearish than last year, and more bearish than I expected," a copper mining source told Fastmarkets.
One major trigger for the bearish tone was news that broke at the start of the week that major Chinese copper financing company Tewoo Group had been forced to sell off copper stocks
at premiums significantly below market levels due to credit issues.
"Supply is plentiful, and demand is worrisome. China is very, very quiet, and demand growth is slow, while financing of some Chinese companies is looking very fragile," a copper cathode consumer said.