NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire -10/20/11)- Weakened demand for copper out of the industrial sector has led to relatively neutral returns for investors in the industry. Currency fluctuations and market uncertainty are also weighing on the industry. Inconsistent production, weather delays and equipment malfunctions have also compounded the problems created by the macroeconomic environment. The Bedford Report examines the outlook for companies in the Copper Industry and provides stock research on Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, Inc. (NYSE: FCX - News) and BHP Billiton Limited (NYSE: BHP.AX - News) (ASX: BHP.AX - News). Access to the full company reports can be found at:
Copper stocks have been volatile of late as data showed China's economy grew at a 9.1 per cent rate in the third quarter -- its slowest pace since the second quarter of 2009 -- as euro debt strains and a sluggish US economy took a toll. China accounts for roughly 40 percent of global copper demand with the emerging market using the red metal to make wire, pipe, buildings, automobiles and appliances.
In September, China imported 380,526 tonnes of anode, refined copper, alloy and semi-finished copper products, the highest level since May 2010 and a gain of 3.3 percent from September 2010, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.
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International Copper Study Group expects world apparent refined copper usage in 2012 to grow by 3.6 percent, mainly supported by a growth of 6 percent in China as the rest of the world is expected to grow by only 2 percent.
Earlier this week BHP Billiton posted a 24 percent rise in quarterly iron ore production as it boosted sales to Asian steel mills, but the world's biggest mining company said copper output from its Escondida mine in Chile was declining.
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