NEW YORK An ongoing
strike at Chilean ports could impact copper deliveries to
Panama City, Fla., and New Orleans in the next few weeks.
"If we are going to see any
change in the rate of delivery, it will start to show up in the
next few weeks," a Panama City port spokesman told
AMM. "So far, we have not seen any impacts. Its
still a little early to know whether were going to see
impacts or not."
"Its still pretty soon
after the (Chilean) work stoppages began," a Port of New
Orleans spokesman said, "(but) anything that affects shipments
of nonferrous metal (from Chile) could affect the Port of New
A stevedores strike began
at Angamos in mid-March (
amm.com, March 22), with workers at the Chilean
ports at Antofagasta, Inquique and San Antonio joining shortly
amm.com, March 28).
U.S. traders confirmed that the
strike has already delayed March copper deliveries, and both
consumers and traders anticipate it will give copper cathode
premiums a boost from the current range of 4.5 to 5.5 cents per
pound if the dispute is prolonged (
amm.com, April 2).
Both New Orleans and Panama City
could experience fewer imports as a result of the Chilean labor
dispute, although traffic may not fall off significantly if
other countries boost copper production, the Port of New
Orleans spokesman said. "We do receive copper from Brazil and
Peru, although it remains to be seen if those countries will
step up their production to meet demand (if the Chilean strike
Panama City port receives almost
all of its copper from Chile, the spokesman said, adding that
Peru used to ship copper to Panama City but hasnt for
years because most of its copper exports go to China.
Panama City port handled about
250,000 tonnes of Chilean copper in fiscal 2012 and is on pace
to hit 300,000 tonnes in fiscal 2013 due to warehouse financing
deals and the U.S. economy picking up steam, the spokesman
New Orleans handled some 600,000
tonnes of copper, aluminum, tin, zinc, nickel and lead. The
port spokesman was unable to quantify how much Chilean copper
was shipped to the port in 2012.
New Orleans has become the
domestic location of choice for traders to store material in
London Metal Exchange-listed warehouses, with inventories in
New Orleans increasing to 167,650 tonnes on April 3 from 75,775
tonnes at the start of the year. Warehouse companies have been
offering incentives to get metal into their stores in New
Orleans since last year (
amm.com, Oct. 8).
However, Panama City may take
some of the heat off New Orleans soon, as the LME Warehousing
Committee reportedly has discussed making the city the next
domestic delivery location for copper.