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Global copper smelting activity declines significantly in January across all regions

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16 February 2021 – SAVANT, a unique geo-spatial analytics product launched in October 2019 by Earth-i and Marex Spectron, showed global copper smelting activity to be sharply lower in January 2021 after the large increases (ex-North America) in the previous two months.
January 2021 observations include:

  • The global activity dispersion index averaged 46.5 in January, a large decline on the 55.2 recorded the prior month.
  • The China index fell to 50.3 from December’s 55.5, as capacity utilisation dropped towards month-end, a move that is likely to be largely restocking.
  • North American activities continued to be depressed, falling from 33.6 in December to 33.2 January (a far cry from the August and September rebound, when the September index was 56.5), suggesting that the pandemic-related shutdowns continue to be a major factor.
  • Europe, which had experienced a strong recovery in the previous quarter, saw a major drop in January from 59.9 to 41.3, taking the region back to levels similar to the first quarter of last year.
  • Asia ex-China also fell sharply, albeit from high levels, with a reading of 48.8 in January (60.2 in December).
  • South America followed the downward trend, falling to 43.0 from a level of 49.7 in December.

* – Index values go back to March 2016

Dr Guy Wolf, Marex Spectron’s Global Head of Analytics, commented: “The start of 2021 has been extremely soft for global smelting activities. However, the slowdown we saw in China towards the end of January followed a period of quite intense activity, suggesting a certain amount of re-stocking had been taking place ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday season. Activity levels in China remain more robust than elsewhere.”
“The primary driver of the global weakness in January was the large decline in European activity levels and continued weakness in North America. Clearly, this is pandemic-related and the experience of 2020 suggests that we should expect a similarly aggressive recovery as lockdowns are lifted.”

Global activity dispersion index over last 12 months (weekly average)

Source: SAVANT Global Copper Smelting Index

Regional activity dispersion index for China and Global(ex-China)

Source: SAVANT Global Copper Smelting Index

The Activity Dispersion Index is a measure of capacity-weighted activity levels observed at smelter sites where a reading of 50 indicates that current activity levels are at average levels. Readings above or below 50 indicate greater or lesser activity levels than average, respectively. The above chart displays these readings as a weekly rolling average.
The SAVANT Copper platform monitors up to 90% of the smelting capacity for copper around the globe. Using daily updated sources, including extensive use of geospatial data collected from satellites, the index reports on the activities at the world’s smelting plants offering subscribers unprecedented levels of coverage, accuracy and reliability. This dataset allows users to make better informed and more timely trading decisions.
To find out more please visit SAVANT, or sign-up for the Free SAVANT service.
About Earth-i
Earth-i is a geospatial intelligence company using machine learning, artificial intelligence and Earth Observation data to provide unique and relevant insights, derived from diverse geospatial data, that deliver clear decision advantage for businesses, governments and other organisations.
Earth-i provides advanced analytics using automated interpretation of a range of geospatial Earth Observation data sources including colour imagery, colour video, infra-red and radar from a range of sources including satellite, drone, aerial and ground-based sensors. This data is fused with additional data sources to extract factual understanding and generate predictive insights across a range of markets such as commodities, supply chain, agriculture, infrastructure and defence.
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About Marex Spectron Group Limited
Marex Spectron is a leading global commodities brokerage, with significant market share of many major Agricultural, Metal and Energy products. Headquartered in London, Marex Spectron’s extensive international network covers Europe, Asia and North America markets. State-of-the-art electronic and voice broking services facilitates all types of trading strategies. This is backed by decades of experience, with Marex Spectron placing great emphasis on intellectual knowledge and insight, alongside access to extensive data sets and the latest analytical tools. Its clients are commodity producers and consumers, banks, hedge funds, asset managers, brokers, commodity trading advisors and professional traders.
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