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Rotterdam copper premium up on hand-to-mouth buying

Keywords: Tags  copper, premiums, Rotterdam

LONDON — The weighted-average copper premium for Rotterdam, the Netherlands, pushed back above $70 per tonne Jan. 28 as producers reported modest sales to consumers.

The spread on AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin’s Rotterdam copper premiums was unchanged at $60 to $80 per tonne, but the weighted-average quote increased to $70.83 per tonne after dipping below $70 in mid-January.

Spot trade in Europe has been slow so far in 2013 and is not expected to pick up significantly until late February at the earliest, a producer said. In the meantime, premiums are likely to trade sideways, he said.

“There hasn’t been much buying since the end of the year, but the premiums we have achieved on small sales to industrial users haven’t been that bad. I would say $75 is achievable,” the producer said. 

“It’s very hand-to-mouth, but that’s to be expected. The year still hasn’t got started yet and I don’t expect the market to really show its direction until February or March,” he said.

While booking more comfortable volumes in contracts for 2013, many consumers also received additional volumes under contracts that expired in December, a semis producer told Metal Bulletin

“As consumers, on the one hand, we had our December quota—which was shipped last month and arrived in January—and on the other, scrap availability was quite good,” he said. “So on the raw materials side, the situation wasn’t so bad. But from the order point of view, things could be better. There is some demand after a period of destocking at the end, but it is nothing extraordinary.”

Other sources said the market is likely to remain subdued beyond the seasonal lull seen at the start of the year. 

“We’re trading small tonnages and trying to think of some new strategies, but it’s not easy,” a source at a Category I member of the London Metal Exchange said. “Everyone is very risk-averse and there’s no real demand out there. I don’t really see it getting much more exciting than it is now, either."

A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.

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