China’s copper premiums skyrocket on storm surge affecting supplies from Chile



Archive image of copper cathode sheets at BHP Billiton's Escondida mine in Antofagasta, Chile.


© Reuters / Ivan Alvarado
Archive image of copper cathode sheets at BHP Billiton’s Escondida mine in Antofagasta, Chile.

Jan 29 (Reuters) – Copper import premiums to China have risen to their highest level in more than five months as storm surges have caused shipping disruptions from the metal’s top producer, Chile.

The northern Chilean port of Angamos, which handles cathode shipments for state-owned Codelco, was closed for a good part of January due to the waves, which affected a significant number of shipments, said two sources with knowledge of the matter, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the subject.

Codelco, which ships at least 100,000 tonnes a month of cathodes, which are used to make rods and tubes, told Reuters that as in previous years during this time of year, the main shipping port has faced storm surges that have impeded normal operation. of shipments.

“Even though the situation has been longer than in previous periods, we have adjusted the delivery plan with our clients without major impacts,” said the miner.

The port did not respond to calls seeking comment, but there are swell warnings throughout the northern Antofagasta region.

In China, the Yangshan copper premium paid to London Metal Exchange prices for the physical delivery of cathodes has risen 19% so far this year to $ 72 a tonne.

This is the highest price since August 21, pointing to tight supply availability, as spot premiums approach the $ 88 Codelco charges customers in China for forward supply.

The swell “has been a nightmare,” one of the sources said, adding that there was a delay in ships waiting to unload sulfuric acid at Angamos and that other ports and shipments of copper concentrate were also affected.

(Reporting by Tom Daly; additional reporting by Fabián Cambero in Santiago and Zandi Shabalala in London; edited by Carlos Serrano)

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