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Copper, Zinc Demand in Europe Is ‘Good,’ Boliden CEO Says

Sept. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Copper and zinc demand is “good” in Europe, said Lennart Evrell, chief executive officer of Boliden AB, the only Scandinavian copper producer.

“We are running at full capacity” for both metals, he said today in an interview at the company’s headquarters in Stockholm. Boliden’s copper capacity is 350,000 metric tons a year, and the company aims to increase production by 14,500 tons by the beginning of next year.

“Three to four weeks ago, we saw the first signs of adjustments from our customers,” the CEO said, pointing to “reduced needs.” “That doesn’t change the fact we have a good demand in Europe.”

Copper has “a good probability” of returning to record highs, according to Evrell. Prices reached $10,190 a ton on the London Metal Exchange and $4.6575 a pound on the Comex in New York in February, helped by demand from top global consumer China. The metal was last at $8,272 and $3.738 today.

“China is going to continue to be a very strong market for the global economies,” Evrell said. “Even if we have a big recession this time, the long-term outlook -- if China is continuing their wealth development, if India is continuing on the track they are in -- I think we’re going to see very high metals prices in the future.”

Elevated prices helped Boliden to report a 6.5 percent gain in second-quarter net income from a year earlier to 803 million kronor ($119 million) in July. Third-quarter results are due Oct. 25, its website shows. The shares have dropped 40 percent this year in Stockholm trading.

To contact the reporter on this story: Agnieszka Troszkiewicz in London at atroszkiewic@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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