* 2013 TC/RC benchmark established at $70/7 cents
* Continued strong trend in TC/RCs expected
HAMBURG, March 21 The provisional increase in
2013 global copper ore treatment and refining charges (TC/RCs)
to $70 a tonne and 7 cents a lb has now been established as this
year's benchmark, Aurubis, Europe's biggest copper smelter, said
The 10 percent increase had previously been agreed in
January only for six months.
"On the international copper concentrate markets, the
benchmark of $70 a tonne and 7 cents a lb for good qualities has
been established for framework contracts for 2013, as confirmed
by the last contract signings in the past few weeks," Aurubis
said in a market report.
TC/RCs are paid by miners to smelters to refine concentrate
into metal and are a key part of the global copper industry's
The benchmark increase will be positive for earnings in the
world's copper smelting industry. It is one reason why copper
sector is performing better than other areas of the metals
industry such as steel.
"The current volumes under annual contracts strengthen
smelters' position in spot business, so it can be assumed that
TC/RCs will increase as the year goes on."
The benchmarks are for long-term smelting contracts for
large volumes, spot business is for smaller deals.
Aurubis said on March 6 that spot deals has been agreed
recently way over the benchmark at $80 a tonne and 8 cents a lb.
In the European copper scrap market, good volumes are still
readily available and buyers have a good supply, Aurubis said on
But sellers' interest in new business is reserved due to
lower copper prices, it said.
"Copper product markets are mixed," it said. "Strip products
are in higher demand, especially in the U.S."
"Increased demand from the wind power sector as well as in
Italy has created positive momentum for rod in a difficult
environment. Poor weather conditions and restrictive lending in
Southern Europe have had a negative influence, however."
Aurubis said in February it expected big new offshore wind
farm projects to boost copper demand.