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'Fascinating' situation unfolds as copper smelting picks up, nickel mixed

Global copper smelting activity increased in October but there were mixed results for nickel, according to satellite surveillance-backed Savant, with various factors said to make the situation “fascinating to watch from here”.
'Fascinating' situation unfolds as copper smelting picks up, nickel mixed 'Fascinating' situation unfolds as copper smelting picks up, nickel mixed 'Fascinating' situation unfolds as copper smelting picks up, nickel mixed 'Fascinating' situation unfolds as copper smelting picks up, nickel mixed 'Fascinating' situation unfolds as copper smelting picks up, nickel mixed

Vale's Sudbury smelters have restarted in Canada, lifting Savant’s Americas dispersion index for nickel

Staff reporter

The platform, launched two years ago by Marex and Earth-i, monitors up to 90% of global smelting capacity for copper and nickel.

It said the global dispersion index for copper rose from 49.3 in September to average 52.2 in October.

A reading above 50 indicates greater activity levels than usual.

In nickel, the index rose from 41.1 to 46, with the Americas rebounding to 55.6 as both Sudbury smelters restarted but China's NPI index falling for the fourth month in a row to 33 due to the country's energy crisis.

China's copper smelters on the other hand had been "relatively insulated" from the crisis as much of the energy needed for the transformation of concentrates to metal came from the exothermic reaction of burning contained sulphur in the furnace, rather than external sources of energy, Savant said.

"The contrasting trends between copper and nickel smelting activity in China shows how resilient - or vulnerable - each supply chain can be to exogenous shocks," Marex global head of analytics Dr Guy Wolf said.

"With expectations of future industrial activity being pared back by many analysts as the global economy looks to be normalising to its pre-pandemic trajectory, the reciprocity between industry specific factors and broader macro influences will be fascinating to watch from here."