South America's coronavirus lockdown sees copper, zinc, lead supply hit

The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) pandemic is starting to hit mine supply of metals after months of affecting refined demand, sources told Fastmarkets.

Across South America, the world’s largest copper-producing continent, countries including both Peru and Chile have closed borders to contain the outbreak, Fastmarkets understands.
While mine disruptions are yet to be reported in Chile, the world’s top copper supplier, Peru’s border closure and 15-day national quarantine has led to closures and development halts.
Metal market sellers are also experiencing difficulties in transporting material out of Bolivia, which borders Peru and Chile, and has no sea port to export minerals.
Extended closures and logistical jams could see supply of base metals produced in the region restricted, going some way to balance markets in which demand has plummeted along with prices since January.
“As China is restarting, coronavirus-caused supply disruptions might support metals prices in the short term,” Dmitry Glushakov, head of mining research at VTB Capital, said in a market note.

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Archie Hunter

Julian Luk

Renato Rostás

March 18, 2020

10:34 GMT

London, Sao Paolo