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Global copper smelting activity extends rise in September - satellite data

Kitco News

LONDON, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Global copper smelting activity extended gains in September as Chinese operations came back online after maintenance closures, data from satellite surveillance of copper plants showed.

North America, which rebounded in strongly in August, held at fairly strong levels, a joint statement from satellite service SAVANT and broker Marex Spectron said on Friday.

"The build-up of deferred maintenance in China that led to the weakness in August still appears to be not entirely completed so we expect volatile readings out of China to continue," said Guy Wolf, global head of analytics at Marex, which helped develop SAVANT.

China is the world's top refined copper producer. 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 50.2 in September, up from 44.2 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 jumped to 50.2 in September after 39.3 in August, the lowest since March 2018, while the North America index dipped slightly to 56.5 from 58.7 a month earlier.

"September was the first month this year that China, North America and Europe were all indicating above average levels of activity," Wolf said.

Europe recorded 51.7 in September, up from 46.6 in August.

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