Chile's Cochilco lowers copper price prediction over trade war

25 July 2018

Chile’s state copper agency Cochilco revised its average copper price prediction downwards by $0.06 per pound to $3 on Tuesday, citing the trade war between the United States and China as a reason for a drop in the red metal’s price.

Cochilo said it expected the price to edge back upwards to $3.10 in 2019.

It estimated production would be 5.7 million tonnes in 2018 and 5.94 million tonnes in 2019. The projection for this year represented an increase of 4.7 percent on last year, due to a long-running copper strike that blighted 2017 production.

Cochilco estimated global copper demand would edge up by 0.4 percent this year.

On Tuesday afternoon, managers at Chile’s Escondida copper mine, the world’s largest, will present their final labour contract offer to the union amid threats from workers of another stoppage.

Mines minister Baldo Prokurica said a fresh strike could pose an additional threat to the market, as could further incendiary comments or actions by U.S. President Donald Trump or others engaged in the trade war.

He added however that investment in Chilean mining remained healthy, with investors taking a long-term view.