April 18, 2019 / 5:57 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Chile's Cochilco holds 2019 copper forecast at $3.05/lb

(Adds context, info on deficit, quote from mining minister.)

SANTIAGO, April 18 (Reuters) - Chile’s Cochilco state copper commission on Thursday held its estimate for the price of copper at $3.05 per pound, rising to $3.08 for 2020 on improving prospects for growth in China.

The price, it said, would be underpinned by a 208,000 tonne deficit in the global market for 2019. The deficit is expected to drop slightly to 202,000 tonnes in 2020.

Cochilco said production this year in Chile, the world’s top copper producer, would increase 2.2 percent over 2018 to 5.96 million tonnes. Output in 2020 is expected to hit 6.21 million tonnes, the agency said.

Mining Minister Baldo Prokurica told reporters at a press conference in Santiago that he did not foresee any further disruptions to production this year in the Andean nation, adding that he expected pending contract negotiations at mines in Chile “would end well.”

Unusually heavy rains and flooding in the Atacama desert in February docked production at many of the country’s top copper and lithium mines. (Reporting by Fabian Cambero, writing by Dave Sherwood Editing by Susan Thomas)

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