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China Copper Output Rises to Record Amid New Smelting Capacity

Copper production in China, the world’s largest user, climbed to a record in October as smelters put new capacity into use amid ample supply of concentrate.

Refined-copper output rose 23 percent from a year earlier to 637,000 metric tons, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics. That was 2.6 percent higher than the previous record of 621,000 tons a month earlier.

Higher production was in line with investors’ expectations as new smelting capacity came online this year, said Judy Zhu, an analyst at Standard Chartered Plc. in Shanghai.

“Record output of refined copper will increase supply in the domestic market,” Zhu said. “Given that demand also appeared to be on the strong side, we are expecting prices to stay at current level in the short term.”

Copper for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.7 percent to $7,127.75 at 7:01 p.m. Shanghai time. The metal for delivery in January closed at 51,480 yuan ($8,450) a ton on the Shanghai Futures Exchange today.

Domestic iron ore production fell to 134.88 million tons in October, from a record 136.64 million tons a month ago, according to statistics bureau data.

“China’s iron ore output will continue to remain near the record high level as domestic miners ramped up production at current high prices,” Zhu added.

China’s zinc production was 500,000 tons in October, the highest since December 2011, while its lead production rose 9.9 percent to 423,000 tons, according to statistics bureau data.

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