Power, telecom, housing & electrical sectors to drive demand

Dhimant Bhatt

The scenario

Domestic prices

at a record high of Rs 286 a kg

Refined copper

usage this fiscal estimated at 4.13 lakh tonnes

Copper availability

to rise to 9.67 lakh tonnes next fiscal

Mumbai, March 29

Domestic consumption of copper is likely to grow at 6-7 per cent in the next financial year mainly due to increased demand from power, telecom, housing and electrical sector.

Growth of copper usage in the country is expected to be around 7 per cent during the current fiscal, higher than world average of 4 per cent.

"Despite rising copper prices worldwide, demand for refined copper will continue to grow at the current rate. The main demand in the country is in electrical and electronics, construction, consumer durables and transport sectors," an official of Hindustan Copper Ltd (HCL) said.

Copper prices have increased to an all-time high level of Rs 286 a kg in Mumbai and also reached to a recent high at $5,335 a tonne in the London market on Tuesday.

In the current fiscal, total refined copper usage in the country is expected to be around 4,13,000 tonnes, higher from 3,86,000 tonnes during last year.

By the year 2010, this is expected to rise to about 6,00,000 tonnes, according to industry sources. The increased emphasis of Government on rural infrastructure development, which includes increasing road and rail networks as well as replacing and repairing the existing ones and development of the power sector is likely to push the demand for various raw materials in general, and copper in particular.

"We have initiated a drive in association with the domestic copper industry for promoting new applications of copper in various sectors such as power, automobile and building and construction," Mr Ajit Advani, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), International Copper Promotion Council (India), told

Business Line

.

To increase efficiency and reduce losses in power sector, the council has suggested that only electrolytic copper of 99.95 per cent purity should be used in transformers and motor windings. "There is scope for indigenous development of downstream products particularly telephone cables, power cables and winding wires which are currently being imported," Mr Advani said.

For 2006-07, total availability of copper in the country is estimated around 9,67,000 tonnes.

The figure includes 7,22,000 tonnes domestic production and 2,45,000 tonnes import.

Total domestic production is mainly through four major copper producers Hindalco, Sterlite Copper, HCL and SWIL.

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Expert sees bullish outlook for base metals
Slowdown in copper demand; supply still tight

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 30, 2006)
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