The copper theft barometer showed a slight uptick to R11.2m in February from R11.1m in January and R12.4m in December last year‚ according to the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (Sacci’s) latest copper theft barometer.
The January level was the lowest level of the barometer since April 2009 and was a strong indication that the downward momentum seen last year should continue this year‚ the business chamber said in a statement.
While there was a strong relationship between the incidence level of copper theft and the international copper price‚ this was a cyclical relationship that could be influenced by structural changes within the domestic environment‚ the chamber said.
The copper theft volume indicator remained steady at a level of 156 metric tons in February and January from 179 tons in December and 180 tons in November.
The international spot price of copper decreased drastically to an average of $7‚711 per metric ton for the first 2/3 of March‚ from $8‚062 in February‚ a contraction of 4.3% on a monthly basis and 8.9% lower than a year before.
The primary assumption is that the consolidation of sovereign debt problems in developed economies should place upward pressure on the copper price this year.
However‚ most commodities have seen high volatility over the past year‚ with Brent crude oil spiking at $118 per barrel in mid February‚ to settle at $109 in mid-March.
Copper is no exception to this volatile environment influenced by high hopes for rapid global economic growth tempered by the occasional news of yet additional sovereign debt crises.
Copper waste exports decreased to $37.3m in December from the end-year peak of $43m in November. The outlook remains very positive despite the slight increase in the barometer in February.
The Economic Development Department developed a policy proposal to place restrictions on the export of waste metal products as a way to halt the long-term trend of de-industrialisation in SA.
The restriction to waste metal exports will be by way of a statutory preference price together with a 30-day export waiting period. Sacci has submitted their comment on the matter and awaited the updated proposal from the department. © BDlive 2013