Is Chinese copper consumption finally eroding?

Not only have copper prices not kept up with the move in equities, they’ve headed in the opposite direction (Charts 1 & 2). Not surprising. Developments for just about all areas of copper fundamentals we follow have been bearish.

Chilean output for 2012 was 3% higher than the previous year — for the most part, a disappointment. Early forecasts for production growth of between 5% and 10% did not materialize. This year’s early forecast calls for 3% growth in 2013. The first reading of the year certainly made that estimate look conservative. Output for January was 8.6% higher than last year. Mining of higher ore grade and newer mines starting to realize capacity were reasons cited for the large jump. Both of which would augur well for continuing improved output growth.

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