UPDATE 1-Jiangxi Copper sees prices rebounding on improved demand

Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:06am EDT

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* Sees China demand rising by 700,000 tonnes in 2014

* Expects China output to rise by 600,000-650,000 tonnes (Adds details)

By Polly Yam

HONG KONG, March 26 (Reuters) - Global copper prices should soon recover from current levels on the back of improving demand, a senior executive from Jiangxi Copper Co Ltd , China's top producer of the metal, said on Wednesday.

Copper consumption in China, the world's biggest consumer of the metal, is expected to increase by about 700,000 tonnes in 2014 from the previous year, while production is forecast to rise by between 600,000 and 650,000 tonnes, Wu Yuneng, vice-president of Jiangxi Copper, said at a results briefing.

"China's copper consumption was never below GDP growth," Wu said.

"Assuming a 7.5 percent increase in GDP this year... China's copper demand may rise by about 700,000 tonnes this year." He did not give the consumption amount.

Demand for refined copper outside China is expected to rise by 100,000 tonnes as the economies of the United States and Europe improve, Wu said.

The global refined copper market is expected to remain in deficit in 2014, after a small deficit last year, Wu said, citing a figure from the International Copper Study Group.

ICSG figures showed that in 2013, the copper market had a 193,000-tonne deficit.

"From now, copper prices could start rising. Reaching $7,600 should not be a problem," Wu said of prices on the London Metal Exchange. He did not provide a timeframe.

LME copper prices have lost about 10 percent so far this year, trading at $6,565 per tonne on Wednesday.

But the global concentrate market could have a surplus this year due to increased mine production, Wu said. Concentrate is raw material for refined copper production.

Jiangxi Copper plans to produce 1.12 million tonnes of refined copper in 2014, flat from 2013 because the firm will not increase capacity in the year, its chairman Li Baomin said.

The company plans to produce 209,000 tonnes of copper in ores in 2014 from its mines in China, also flat from last year.

It plans to increase semi-finished copper products such as rods to 920,000 tonnes in 2014, after a gain of 43 percent to 831,200 tonnes last year. (Reporting by Polly Yam; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Dale Hudson)

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