Chinese analysts attributed the drop in fees to the anticipated slow down in the world's mined copper output growth, amid the building of new smelters in China.
Jiangxi Copper and Chilean Antofagasta inked the term fee for 2019 at $80.80/mt and 8.08 cents/lb, lower than 2018 rates of $82.25/mt and 8.225 cents/lb, Jiangxi Copper said in its weekly report, noting that the 2019 fee is in line with Chinese smelters' target level.
But Jiangxi Copper said the fee for the first quarter of 2019 was above $90/mt, and 9 cents/lb, and that they expect ample supply of near term spot concentrate before the restart of overseas smelters.
Hangzhou-based Chinese brokerage Nanhau Futures said in its copper report that since Q2 this year, spot fees kept rising, due to problems at various smelters in India, Philippines and China.
The brokerage said the world's mined copper supply is still limited, with the globe's 2019 copper concentrate supply seen adding just 500,000 mt. Jiangxi Copper shared similar views, noting that the global mined copper supply was 16.47 million mt in 2018, with 2019 supply growth rate expected at just 2.7% year on year.