Copper Demand to Rise in Brazil as Country Builds

Source: Reuters  (2/11/10)

"It will be a pretty good year I think, but the perspective for the years ahead is even better"

Building works ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, fast growth and a strong auto industry, will secure stronger long-term demand for copper products in Brazil, an industry official said.

The Latin American country's copper product sector, represented by the Sindicel industry association, experienced an expected dip in 2009, of about 15% of physical sales volume, but expects to make a firm recovery this year.

"We think we can get back to 2008 levels, forgetting that 2009 existed," Sergio Aredes told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"It will be a pretty good year I think, but the perspective for the years ahead is even better," he said.

In this developing and fast growing nation, demand for copper products tends to track closely the overall performance of the country's economy. Years of strong growth in Brazil were only interrupted last year by a brief crisis-induced recession.

Aredes said 2010 product sales, including cables and semi-manufactured products, would contain about 400,000 or 410,000 t of copper after the quantity used dipped to roughly 360,000 t in 2009.

"This (estimate) takes into consideration the growth of 5% in GDP and industrial growth of 8% and an LME price of around $6,600 on average," he said.

By comparison, sales in 2008 when the economy grew 5.1%, reached about 430,000 t.

The copper market is strongly focused on determining the strength of demand from China while a pick-up in demand in the developed world remains elusive.

Copper futures traded 3% higher at $6,702 on Thursday as data from China eased fears of a sharp reduction in loan availability.

Aredes said strong demand from some of the most copper-hungry sectors plus more construction and investment with the two global sports tournaments would assure firm demand for several years to come, particularly after 2010.

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