Copper production will grow by 1.9% in 2020 to 21 million tonnes, down from the 3.4% growth originally forecast by GlobalData.
"Production growth in China is forecast to be around 6%, which is down from the 9.6% forecasted before the outbreak. Lockdowns in Chile and Peru will reduce the output in two markets that currently account for 40% of the global supply. Production in Chile is forecast to grow by 0.3% and in Peru by 2% - compared with a 1.4% decline and 2.6% growth respectively in 2019. There is also expected to be a slowdown in development of new projects," said Vinneth Bajaj, senior mining analyst at GlobalData.
Meanwhile, weakness in the construction sector will see copper demand growth slow to 2.7% in 2020 versus the 4.1% predicted before the outbreak.
Bajaj noted his firm's current forecasts assume the pandemic is contained across all major markets by the end of the June quarter "following which conditions would allow for a return to normalcy in terms of economic activity and freedom of movement in the second half of the year".
Copper production fell by 1.9% in 2019 to 20.6Mt. Prices rose in the final quarter of Q4 before falling sharply from the middle of January as the virus spread. Copper prices are expected to remain low over the coming months.