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Global copper smelting activity rebounds in August - satellite data

Kitco News

LONDON, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Global copper smelting activity recovered in August, mainly due to a jump in activity in North America, data from satellite surveillance of copper plants showed. Copper processing in top producer China extended its decline, but that was likely due to operations needing maintenance, a joint statement from satellite service SAVANT and broker Marex Spectron said on Thursday. "The most striking data in August was the rebound in North American smelter activity, which has been extremely depressed since the first quarter, with a large amount of capacity to still come online," said Guy Wolf, global head of analytics at Marex, which helped develop SAVANT.

Earth-i, which specialises in geospatial data, launched its SAVANT service late last year, tracking more than 100 smelters representing 80% to 90% of global production. It sells data to fund managers, traders and miners and publishes a free monthly index of global copper smelter activity. Its global dispersion index rose to an average of 44.2 in August, up from 41.5 a month earlier.

SAVANT launched the dispersion index in June, with 50 points indicating smelters are operating at the average level of the last 12 months. It also has a second index showing the percentage of active smelters. The China dispersion index dropped to 39.3 in August, the lowest since March 2018, from 43.1 in July, while the North America index surged to 58.7 from 26.2 a month earlier. "China's August decline appears to be maintenance-related rather than demand-driven, with September data showing numbers are returning to more normal levels," Wolf said.

Global Copper Smelting Activity Dispersion Index

(Reporting by Eric Onstad;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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