Fastmarkets' calculation of the index for copper concentrates TC/RC
, which measures a mid-point for processing fees paid to smelters, hit $42.40 per tonne/ 4.24 cents per lb on July 9, almost double the low set on April 9.
Over the weekend, information began to filter through to the market that Yantai Guorun had begun unexpected maintenance on its smelter in Shandong, China; news expected to fuel market terms further in favor of buyers.
But with TC/RCs having traded in a long-term downtrend for the past eight years, market players are questioning whether the jolt marks the beginning of a transition back to higher levels, or whether smelters will return to the market in force later in the year.
"I think we're seeing an inflection point in TC/RCs," Gong Ming, an analyst at Chinese brokerage Jinrui Futures, told Fastmarkets.
"We expect TC/RCs to continue to...