Copper theft down 19% in June – Sacci

The copper theft barometer‚ as measured by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci)‚ declined to a level of R17.9 million in June from R23 million in May and R27.5 million in April.

June’s decline was the third month of substantial declines in the barometer since the peak of R34.7 million in March.

Sacci’s copper theft volume indicator‚ which provides an indication of how much copper is stolen as opposed to a rand value of what is stolen‚ recorded a level of 288 tons in June‚ down from the 356 tons in May.

This was a 19% drop on a monthly basis.

The declines in both the barometer and volume indicator confirmed that copper theft levels had dropped substantially over the course of the second quarter of this year‚ Sacci noted.

The latest figures available for copper waste exports relate to May‚ and recorded an increase of 20.2% on a monthly basis to US$43.5 million from $36.2 million in April and $50.3 million in March.

Export statistics in general had a high volatility and the levels changed quite rapidly relative to other economic data series.

Sacci said however that the long-term relationship between the international price of copper and South African copper export volume remained because of the impact that higher prices had on the value of the exported goods.

In 2011‚ the average copper price was $8‚827 per metric ton and export levels were an average of $49.9 million‚ whereas the average copper price from January to May this year was $8‚229 with exports at a monthly average of $41 million for the same period.

“In short‚ local exporters reduce their export volumes when copper prices fall. This implies that export volumes should be lower in 2012 due to an expected moderation in the international price of copper‚” the chamber said.

The outlook for the fight against copper theft looked positive given the latest data from the barometer and volume indicator‚ according to Sacci.

Sacci welcomed the implementation of proper training of police officers in the finer aspects of detecting and policing copper theft in terms of the Second-hand Goods Act.

On copper prices‚ the business chamber noted that the international spot price of the metal increased to an average of $7‚599 per metric ton in July from the $7‚427 average in June.

“This is the first increase to the monthly average copper price since March 2012‚” it said.

The increase in July still leaves the price level below the year-to-date average of $8‚025 and the $9‚643 per metric ton in July 2011 and is not an indication that copper is on an upward price trend.

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Copper theft down 19% in June – Sacci