RPT-UPDATE 1-Big global copper surplus? Mine cutbacks force rethink
(Repeats Wednesday item)
* Analysts' consensus last Oct was for 350,000 T surplus this year
* Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton have cut forecast output at big mines
* Some analysts say market may turn out to be in deficit
* Copper balance graphic: link.reuters.com/web83w
By Eric Onstad and Harpreet Bhal
LONDON, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Cuts in copper mine output are raising doubts about the extent of a widely expected global surplus that has driven down prices, and the reduced production could support a market rebound.
An expected glut of supply in 2015 is one reason - along with tanking oil prices - why investors have been selling the metal in droves in the past six months, pulling prices to their lowest level in 5-1/2 years.
But several mining companies have cut their expected 2015 copper production, mainly for geological or technical reasons - and only now are new forecasts emerging from analysts downgrading global output this year. Continuación...