October 31, 2017 / 1:06 PM / a year ago

LMEWEEK-Chile sees copper prices rising to average $2.95 in 2018

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LONDON, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Chile sees copper prices averaging $2.95 per pound next year, Chilean Minister of Mining Aurora Williams said at the LME Week industry gathering in London on Tuesday, citing a persistent market deficit.

Copper prices have risen some 24 percent this year to average $2.75 per pound.

Chile, the top producer and supplier of about a third of the world’s copper, has adjusted its market deficit forecast for this year to 60,000 tonnes, the minister said, adding that the shortfall is expected to persist throughout 2018, peaking in the second half.

Williams said she was optimistic on the price outlook for copper, but said she did not see a return to 2011 highs of above $4.00 a lb for the foreseeable future.

“It’s more important rather than looking at outright prices to look at the trend,” said Williams, adding that $3.00-3.20 could be achievable in the next decade given that volatility is likely to pick up.

Chile is on course to produce 5.5 million tonnes of copper this year, the minister said, adding that a pipeline of new projects could realistically see this rise to 6.3 million tonnes in the next decade. (Reporting by Maytaal Angel; editing by Greg Mahlich and Jason Neely)

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