4 May 2006

BHP Says Disruptions to Copper Supply to Persist

Bloomberg.com: Latin America: "May 4 (Bloomberg) -- BHP Billiton, the world's biggest mining company, said disruptions to copper supply are expected to persist due to labor disputes, equipment and worker shortages.
There's likely to be a deficit of copper concentrate between 2006 and 2008, the Melbourne-based company said in slides posted on the Australian Stock Exchange.
Copper prices have surged to records, more than doubling from a year ago on the London Metal Exchange, on concern supply isn't growing fast enough to meet rising demand. Investors have poured money into commodities investment seeking better returns than stocks and bonds. Investments in commodities may reach more than $120 billion by 2008 from $80 billion last year, Barclays Plc estimated last month.
``Our current view of cathode and concentrate markets remain very positive,'' BHP said in the slides. ``The large net inflows of fund money have also added to price rises but it is difficult to predict when this will end.''
Workers at Grupo Mexico SA, the world's seventh-largest copper producer, are in the sixth week of strikes at the company's second-largest copper mine, La Caridad. Kazakhmys Plc yesterday said its production of finished copper fell 6.6 percent after temperatures fell below 40 degrees Celsius (minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit). "

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