Antofagasta CEO voices concern about recession hitting copper prices

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FILE PHOTO: Ivan Arriagada, chief executive officer of Chilean miner Antofagasta Minerals Plc, attends an interview with Reuters in Santiago

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The chief executive of Chilean miner Antofagasta Plc, Ivan Arriagada, voiced concern on Wednesday that a more recessionary environment could depress copper prices, adding he expects any global downturn to be temporary.

Chile is the world’s largest copper producer, and earlier on Wednesday the government cut its 2023 average price estimate to $3.62 per pound, from a previous estimate of $3.92 last July.

“The trajectory followed by copper prices in a more recessionary context is a cause for concern” Arriagada told reporters during an event in Santiago. He forecast that a recession should be transitory and the economy would return to growth.

“We are living in a global recessionary environment and copper prices will be at the low end of the cycle in the short term due to the economic context,” he said.

By the end of September, copper prices had recovered from two-month lows but have fallen again due to expectations of weak demand and rising inventories.

(Reporting by Fabian Andres Cambero and Natalia Ramos, Writing by Aida Pelaez-Fernandez, Editing by Christian Plumb, Kirsten Donovan)

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