Copper May Fall in 2005

Finally some good news for copper prices (maybe) …

Copper prices may fall more than 7 percent in 2005, the first annual drop in four years, as mining companies including Phelps Dodge Corp. boost production.

Copper demand, led by China and the U.S., jumped 8 percent to 16.7 million tons in 2004, exceeding production by 1 million tons. Manufacturers […dipped into] inventories to meet demand.

Phoenix-based Phelps Dodge, the world’s second-largest copper producer, and Melbourne-based BHP Billiton, the largest mining company, said they increased production from mines in Chile and Mexico.

“It is very probable that production growth will accelerate sharply,” [analyst Stephen] Briggs said in a Jan. 17 report. Output from mines and scrap will rise 11 percent this year to 17.4 million tons, matching demand, he said.

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