Low copper price, improving Europe economy lift Aurubis sales volumes
By Felipe Iturrieta and Susan Thomas
SANTIAGO, April 8 (Reuters) - A falling copper price and an improving economy in Europe will lift European smelter and producer Aurubis's sales volumes growth of copper wire this year, from flat growth last year, a company executive said on Monday.
Copper has steadied somewhat since falling to 3-1/2 year lows in March after a bond default by a Chinese company aroused fears about credit problems in the country. Still, investors remain wary of slowing growth rates in China.
"The European economy has developed well and we have a big exposure to Europe, so our product sales went up," Stefan Boel, a member of Aurubis's executive board said.
"The copper price dropped, so we became more competitive, and many customers started fixing forwards," he told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the CRU/CESCO copper conference in Santiago.
He estimates overall growth in wire rod sales volumes in Europe this year at 3-5 percent. "But our volumes? Double digits," he said, declining to give an exact figure. "I cannot go more into detail. Last year we had no growth."
The euro zone emerged from recession in the last three months of 2013, and the economy is likely to have grown further in the first three months of 2014.
At the same time, European metal products manufacturers are experiencing the most favorable conditions for buying copper in over two years as metal prices remain weak and the euro strong, and many are buying forwards to lock in cheap supply.
In the first three months of its financial year which started on Oct. 1, Aurubis's wire rod output rose 23 percent to 156,000 tonnes. Continuación...