NEW YORK Copper producer
Aurubis AG said it is reasonably optimistic about copper demand
this year, citing an expected rebound in China as well as a
slow pickup in the United States and Germany even as parts of
Europe continue to struggle.
Positive demand trends in North
America and Asia in particular are expected to boost the
companys rolled products business this year, although the
Hamburg, Germany-based company said it does not expect to see
noticeable effects of the pickup until the second half of
China is expected to lead the
rebound, Aurubis said, citing Chinese expansions in a number of
copper-intensive sectors, such as railways, electricity supply
and home construction. "Momentum is expected first and foremost
from China, the country with the greatest copper demand, which
would like to promote economic growth through comprehensive
infrastructure programs and other measures," the company said
in its earnings report.
Copper demand in the United
States and Germany also may improve, although likely at slower
rates, Aurubis said. "There are many indications that the
global economy will slowly recover somewhat, though it will be
different from region to region."
The situation is grimmer in most
of Europe, however. "We expect demand for copper products to
remain weak in Europe over the next few months," the company
said, noting that customers ordering habits in the copper
and alloy strip market "are focused on the short term and are
difficult to predict."
However, improving cable and
wire industries in Europe could give the companys copper
rod segment a lift, which would help compensate for expected
declines in its automotive business, Aurubis said.
The company has scheduled
maintenance shutdowns at its copper concentrate processing
facilities in Hamburg in September and October, which will
"significantly reduce the processed concentrate quantities in
the fourth quarter."