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Copper metals and copper alloys have considerable commercial importance due to their electrical, mechanical and physical properties. Copper for commercial purposes is obtained by the reduction of copper compounds in ores and by electrolytic refining. Copper is used in alloys such as brass which is composed of copper and zinc. The U.S. Geological Survey reported that world production of copper in 1998 was 11.9 million metric tonnes, up 4 percent from 1997. The world’s largest producer of copper is Chile with 1998 production estimated at 3.66 million tonnes, up 8 percent from the previous year. The U.S. is the second largest copper producer in the world. Indonesia’s 1998 production was estimated at 750,000 tonnes, up 42 percent from the previous year. Canada’s copper production was estimated at 710,000 tonnes, up 8 percent from the previous year. U.S. mine production of recoverable copper in July 1999 was 132,000 tonnes, down 1,000 tonnes from June. In the January-June 1999 period, U.S. mine production was 1.01 million tonnes. For all of 1998, production was 1.86 million tonnes. U.S. smelter production of copper in July 1999 was 85,800 tonnes vs. 77,100 tonnes in June. In the January-July 1999 period, smelter production of copper was 708,000 tonnes while for all of 1998 it was 1.49 million tonnes. Total refinery production of copper in July 1999 was 140,000 tonnes, down from 155,000 tonnes in June. In the first seven months of 1999, refinery production was 1.15 million tonnes while for all of 1998 it was 2.12 million tonnes. Copper is also produced by secondary recovery. In the January-July 1999 period, secondary refinery production was 137,000 tonnes. Ingot makers production was 76,800 tonnes while brass and wire-rod mills produced 486,000 tonnes. U.S. apparent consumption of copper in June 1999 was 248,000 tonnes. For all of 1998, apparent copper consumption in the U.S. was 3.01 million tonnes. Copper and copper alloy products were consumed as follows: building construction, 42 percent; electric and electronic products, 25 percent; industrial machinery and equipment, 11 percent; transportation equipment, 13 percent; and consumer and general products, 9 percent. Refined consumption of copper in July 1999 was 240,000 tonnes. In the January-July 1999 period, consumption was 1.74 million tonnes while for 1998 it was 2.88 million tonnes. Purchased copper-base scrap in July 1999 was 146,000 tonnes. In the first seven months of 1999 it was 1.07 million tonnes while for 1998 it was 1.72 million tonnes. U.S. stocks of refined copper at the end of July 1999 were 631,000 tonnes compared to 637,000 tonnes at the end of June 1999. At the end of 1998, refined copper stocks were 531,000 tonnes. Blister stocks at the end of July 1999 were 136,000 tonnes compared to 135,000 tonnes at the end of June and 160,000 tonnes at the end of 1998. U.S. imports of copper ores and concentrates in June 1999 were 60,500 tonnes while for all of 1998 they were 217,000 tonnes. Imports of refined copper in June 1999 were 63,800 tonnes and for all of 1998 they were 683,000 tonnes.

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Futures Markets Copper futures and options are traded on the London Metals Exchange (LME) and the New York Mercantile Exchange, COMEX division. Copper futures are traded on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE).

Excerpted from the CRB Commodity Yearbook.