Renewable energy: A green light to Copper Demand
Comment of the Day

May 25 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Renewable energy: A green light to Copper Demand

Thanks to a subscriber for this report for BMO which may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Eoin Treacy's view

Here is a link to the full report.

Here is a section from it:

Our research shows that renewable energy is the largest single driver of copper demand growth over the coming years, owing to the need to connect significant numbers of small-scale electricity generation units into the grid.  Copper use to support both solar and wind installations are set to grow at a double-digit CAGR over the coming years, with the former set to add 2.5mtpa to global copper demand by 2025 and the latter 1.85mtpa. While this is our base case, we have also analysed a bull case where a renewed push for carbon reduction increases installation rates.  Offshore wind installations are particularly copper intensive, averaging over 9t of copper per MW.  Meanwhile, on our calculations, the automotive sector could add 1.5mtpa of copper demand growth by 2025, with this dominated by electric vehicle growth. Figures 1 and 2 below show the dominance of these areas in driving copper demand growth to 2025, and how this creates a gap to expected available supply.

There is always a new demand led story in any bull market and renewables do represent such an opportunity. However, the success of that new idea is dependent on the conventional sources of demand remaining on a steady trajectory and it is in that regard that doubts tend to be raised about copper.

China’s demand for copper is the single most important factor for the market and its transitioning from a resource led growth dynamic to domestic demand and services is a challenge to continued copper demand growth. It’s massive investments in renewables on the other hand are a potent source of additional demand.

The copper price has posted three lengthy ranges since 2016, one above another. The amplitude of the ranges is in the region of 40¢ and it continues to pause in the region of the trend mean. A sustained move below $3 would be required to question medium-term scope for continued upside.

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