India’s Demand for Copper See Double-Digit Growth in 2023

November 2, 2023 13:11:17

This year, the demand for copper in India has risen to 1522 KT, according to a study by the International Copper Association India. This represents a more than a 200 KT increase from the figures recorded in 2022.

The report noted that for the past two years, the red metal’s demand has seen double-digit growth. This comes after a drop was recorded in 2021 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The increase in demand is linked to increased consumer spending in a range of sectors, including renewable energy, building construction, electric-mobility, power transmission and distribution, industrial applications, white goods, railways and metros. The increase has also been associated with policy reforms, both in private- and public-sector investments.

The transportation sector, which encompasses railways, automobiles and metros, has recorded a 34% increase in demand for copper. This uptick is credited to expanded rapid transportation, the modernization and electrification of railways, and a more than 20% growth in automobile sales.

Demand for the red metal in the construction sector has also risen by 11%, with experts attributing the increase to the greater use of copper in middle-income and premium housing. The Production-Linked Incentive scheme by the Indian government has also encouraged investments into industrial sectors, which has in turn boosted the demand for copper.

In addition, the consumer durables sector has seen significant growth, originating from the pent-up demand of the 2021–2022 financial years as a result of the pandemic. Electronic devices such as mobile phones, laptops, PCs and mobile phones as well as products such as room air conditioners have recorded increases in demand, likely influenced by rising disposable incomes.

Furthermore, a 22% surge in the use of secondary copper (direct melt) and a 180% rise in net imports of refined copper has been recorded.

The International Copper Association’s managing director Mayur Karmarkar stated that copper demand in the country was driven by infrastructure development and economic growth. He added that the government’s classifying copper as a critical metal and projections showing that urbanization could increase from 36% to 43% by 2035 would lead to sustained demand.

Karmarkar also discussed the role of copper in green-energy solutions, stating that the metal helped decrease up to two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions globally.  Experts believe that using a ton of copper in clean-energy technologies can mitigate between 100 to 3,750 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. This, Karmarkar noted, positioned the red metal as an energy efficient and economic metal.

To meet the increasing demand, the production of refined copper (cathode) has risen to 563 KT this year from the 485 KT recorded last year. This growing demand for Copper in India is likely being watched by major copper producers such as Southern Copper Corporation (NYSE: SCCO) because it could result in bigger orders for copper for other markets.

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