FOCUS: Chinese copper refineries race for intermediate products as low conc TCs dent local output

Multi-year lows in smelting income have sharply reduced China’s production of intermediate copper products, which are primary smelting products and feed to produce copper cathodes, forcing dozens of domestic refineries to search for these materials overseas.

“I have got inquiries for blister copper from eight refineries in just a week. I haven’t seen anything like that before. It’s such a shame that I do not have anything to sell on spot market now,” a Chinese blister copper trader said.
Blister copper, typically of 98-99% copper content, is an intermediate product in the primary smelting process that uses as feed either copper concentrates, which typically contain 26% copper, or copper scrap.
Blister copper, or sometimes anode and copper billet, is fed into a smelter to produce the high purity 99.935% copper cathodes that are deliverable against exchange contracts.

The Chinese domestic blister copper market is now unusually tight because treatment charges (TCs) - paid to smelters to turn concentrates to blister - on copper...

Published

Julian Luk

August 01, 2019

11:43 GMT

London