Chile: Copper prices hit all-time high in December
January 3, 2011
In December, copper prices jumped 16.3% over November, closing the year at an all-time high of USD 9,740 per tonne (equivalent to USD 4.41 per pound). At the current level, copper prices are 32.6% higher than in the same month last year. The November price rise was mainly due to supply disruptions in Chile as well as optimistic expectations regarding future demand from China. On 18 December, an accident at the Anglo American Plc and Xstrata Plc's Collahuasi venture, the world's third-largest copper mine, forced the closure of the port for ?a couple of months?. The companies claimed ?force majeure?, which frees them from liability or obligation to deliver copper, thus curbing output levels. Moreover, another accident at Codelco's Chuquicamata refinery on 29 December added to supply concerns, which further spurred prices. Rising prices for copper, which accounts for half of the country's total exports, continue to have a positive effect on trade revenue, with exports expanding 33.1% year-on-year in December. The 3-month sum in exports reached USD 19.2 billion in November, which still short of the USD 19.7 billion peak recorded in May 2008 but significantly above the trough of USD 10.9 billion registered in February 2009.