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Chileans lift copper price forecast for 2018 as China grows

Santiago (Platts)--24 Nov 2017 954 am EST/1454 GMT


Chileans have lifted their forecasts for the copper price over the next 12 months on expectations that stronger growth from China will support demand.

A survey of 11 market experts this month by the Chilean Copper Commission gave an average price of $2.92/lb for 2018.

That compares to a forecast of $2.60/lb for 2017 in the previous survey released in May.

"Analysts attributed the improved price outlook to stronger demand from China, due to higher-than-expected GDP growth in the first half of the year," Cochilco said in a statement Thursday.

The forecast is one shared by Chile's state mining company Codelco, CEO Nelson Pizarro said Thursday.

"I fully believe that current price levels are completely sustainable and sustain current operations relatively well as long as our costs don't shoot up," he said.

Last month, Cochilco forecast that the copper price would average just $2.68/lb next year -- significantly below the current price which has soared to three-year highs of above $3/lb.

Cochilco head Sergio Hernandez noted that China's real estate market, a major consumer of the red metal, was continuing to grow by two digits in the country's largest cities despite lending restrictions on the sector.

"We forecast that copper demand will grow by around 2% in China next year," the official said.

--Tom Azzopardi, newsdesk@spglobal.com

--Edited by Irene Tang, irene.tang@spglobal.com




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