Business

Copper price still low

CYNTHIA MWALE, Lusaka
COPPER price on the London Metal Exchange (LME) has continued to dwindle, trading below US$6,000 a tonne.
The commodity’s performance trend shows a drop from US$6,010 to US$5,995 a tonne of copper on the global market, according to the Standard Chartered Bank daily brief for April 10, 2015.
Zambia’s foreign currency-earner, copper, has seen volatility in price which has continued to fluctuate contributing to the country’s economic variables such as the Kwacha depreciation.
On Thursday, the bank noted that copper was quoted at US$6,010 from the previous day’s US$6,065 a tonne.
According to latest Central Statistical Office (CSO) data, Zambia recorded reduced copper export earnings of K2.5 million in February from K2.6 million in January despite the country exporting more copper.
This has worried stakeholders calling for the need to diversify from mining sector to other sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, tourism among others.
Mines Union of Zambia president Chishimba Nkole said in an interview over the weekend that the country has now started experiencing the dynamics in the dependence in mining sector as a foreign currency-earner.
The drop in the copper price, over which Zambia has no control, has a spiral effect on other sectors of the economy such as the foreign exchange market.
Copper is the mainstay of the economy, and since the metal price and the Kwacha are directly linked, any reduction in the price of the commodity affects the country’s earnings.
“It is very worrying, but there is little we can do but to produce more volumes- which is a desperate move to mitigate further reduction in the copper price,” Mr Nkole said.
He called for all stakeholders to seriously consider a turnaround in participating in the economy to add value to export products.

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