Copper price index compared to other base metals

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Copper price index


This post is a summary of the Copper price index developments since 2015 as per the IMF and other publications.



Further information on the Copper price index


What is copper

Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductile metal that is reddish-orange in color. Copper is known for its excellent electrical and thermal conductivity and is widely used in the production of electrical wire, electrical components, and heat exchangers.

Copper is found in the earth’s crust in a variety of forms, including copper ore, which is a mixture of copper, sulfur, and other elements. Copper ore is mined from the earth and then refined to produce pure copper. The most common method of refining copper is called pyrometallurgy, which involves heating the ore to high temperatures to extract the copper.


How is copper produced

Copper is produced through a series of processes that involve extracting and refining copper from copper ore. The main steps involved in the production of copper are:


The first step in copper production is the mining of copper ore, which is typically found in large deposits in the earth’s crust. Copper ore is extracted from the ground using various mining methods, such as open-pit mining or underground mining.


The ore is then ground into a fine powder and mixed with water to create a slurry. The slurry is then transported to a processing plant, where it is mixed with other chemicals and treated to extract the copper.


The slurry is treated with chemicals to dissolve the copper, creating a solution known as a leachate.


The leachate is filtered to remove impurities, and the copper is then recovered through a process called solvent extraction, in which the copper is separated from the other metals using specialized chemicals.


The copper is then refined to remove impurities and create a pure copper product.

Overall, the production of copper involves a series of complex and energy-intensive processes. It is important to carefully manage the environmental impacts of copper mining and processing, including the potential for water pollution and land degradation.


Which countries produce copper

Copper is produced in a number of countries around the world, with the majority of production concentrated in developing countries in South America, Africa, and Asia. According to the United States Geological Survey, the top five copper-producing countries in 2020 were:


Chile was the largest producer of copper in 2020, with an estimated output of 5.7 million metric tons.


Peru was the second-largest producer of copper, with an estimated output of 2.4 million metric tons.


China was the third-largest producer of copper, with an estimated output of 1.7 million metric tons.

United States

The United States was the fourth-largest producer of copper, with an estimated output of 1.4 million metric tons.

Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo was the fifth-largest producer of copper, with an estimated output of 1.2 million metric tons.

Other significant copper-producing countries include Russia, Mexico, and Indonesia. Copper is an important industrial metal that is used in a wide range of applications, and the demand for copper is likely to remain strong in the coming years due to its many uses and the growing demand for electrical and electronic products.


What is copper used for

Copper has a wide range of uses, including:

Electrical wire

Copper is the most commonly used material for electrical wire due to its excellent electrical conductivity and corrosion resistance.

Electrical components

Copper is used in the production of electrical components, such as motors, generators, and transformers.

Heat exchangers

Copper is used in the production of heat exchangers, which are used to transfer heat from one fluid to another.

Building construction

Copper is used in the construction of buildings and other structures as roofing, flashing, and gutters.


Copper is used in the production of plumbing pipes and fittings due to its corrosion resistance and durability.

Overall, copper is an important industrial metal that has a wide range of uses in many different industries


What types of copper are there

There are several types of copper, including:

Pure copper

This is a pure form of copper that is 99.9% pure or higher. It is used in the production of electrical wire, plumbing pipes, and other applications that require high conductivity and corrosion resistance.

Copper alloys

Copper can be combined with other metals to form various alloys, such as brass, which is a mixture of copper and zinc, and bronze, which is a mixture of copper and tin. These alloys have improved strength, hardness, and other desirable properties and are used in a variety of applications, including bearings, gears, and valve bodies.

Copper compounds

Copper can be combined with other elements to form various compounds, such as copper oxide (CuO) and copper sulfate (CuSO4). These compounds have a variety of uses, including in the production of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers.

Copper ores

Copper ores are mixtures of copper, sulfur, and other elements that are extracted from the earth and refined to produce pure copper. There are many different types of copper ores, including chalcopyrite, bornite, and chalcocite.

Overall, the type of copper used depends on the specific application and the desired properties of the final product. Copper is a versatile element that has a wide range of uses in many different industries.


What is the size of the global copper market

The global copper market is significant, with demand driven by a variety of end-use industries, including the construction, electrical and electronic, and transportation sectors. According to a report by Mordor Intelligence, the global copper market was valued at approximately USD 110 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 155 billion by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate of 7.2%.

The Asia-Pacific region is the largest market for copper, followed by Europe and North America. The growth in the Asia-Pacific region is driven by the increasing demand for electrical and electronic products, while the demand in Europe and North America is driven by the construction and transportation industries.

Overall, the demand for copper is likely to remain strong in the coming years due to its wide range of uses and the growing demand for electrical and electronic products. However, the copper market is subject to fluctuations in price and supply due to factors such as weather conditions, disease outbreaks, and economic conditions in copper-producing countries.

According to :

Copper Bars are the world’s 475th most traded product.

In 2020, the top exporters of Copper Bars were Germany ($960M), Italy ($498M), France ($338M), South Korea ($284M), and Malaysia ($264M).

In 2020, the top importers of Copper Bars were China ($573M), Germany ($423M), Italy ($353M), United States ($337M), and France ($206M).


Further information

Data source: IMF

This data has been partly provided by the IMF and the World Bank. The only change is that it has been indexed for Jan 2019 (so Jan 2019 is set as the index 1.00). The data is provided subject to the terms and conditions as defined by the IMF

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Notes on the price-data

  • We are continually improving our data collection and processing methods and data will be updated from time to time as we improve the accuracy
  • We are working hard to upgrade the algorithm before April 1, 2023 and a further fine-tune by July 1, 2023
  • This the index trend of the price of the product group in general and not a single specification in particular
  • The data is presented in US$
  • The chart shows the price trend,  nearly always taken from many statistically-correlated sources