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Global copper smelting edges lower in February due to Chinese holiday

Kitco News

LONDON, March 3 (Reuters) - Global copper smelting edged lower in February as industrial activity in top producer China declined during the Lunar New Year holiday, data from satellite surveillance of copper plants showed.

The decline in China was partially offset by gains in Europe and North America, which had been hit the previous month by pandemic-linked lockdowns, satellite service SAVANT and broker Marex Spectron said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

"The large decline in Chinese smelter activity was well anticipated due to the holiday period and should recover fairly quickly," said Guy Wolf, global head of analytics at Marex, which helped to develop SAVANT.

"If the improvements seen in most regions continue through March, combined with a resumption in Chinese activity, the next month could be the first time in many months where activity level trends are aligned across all major regions." 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 fell to an average of 45.8 in February from 46.5 a month earlier. Under SAVANT's dispersion index, 50 points indicate smelters are operating at the average level of the last 12 months. It also has a second index showing the percentage of active smelters. China, the world's top refined copper producer, declined to 42.0 in February from 50.3 in January. Europe saw only a modest bounce in February to 43.0 from 41.3 a month before while North America gained to 44.1 from 33.2 in January.

(Reporting by Eric Onstad Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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