U.S. Copper Consumption Reaches Record High

June 5, 1997


NEW YORK - Domestic consumption of copper and copper alloy mill products reached a record high in 1996 of 7,591 million pounds, a 2.9% increase from the revised 1995 level of 7,374 million pounds. Exports of mill products in 1996 continued to grow also, up 9.7% at 777.7 million pounds, versus imports of 827.5 million pounds, an increase of 6.0% over the previous year.

U.S. copper mine production rose also - up 2.7% this past year to an all-time high of 4,210 million pounds, according to "Annual Data 1997 ? Copper Supply and Consumption, 1976-1996" published recently by the Copper Development Association Inc. The report covers the industry's vital statistics from mine to end-use market over the past two decades.

Electrowon copper production was up 7.7% at 1,265 million pounds, while smelter production at 3,614 million pounds represented an increase of 0.5%. Total production of refined copper at 5,161 million pounds was 4.2% ahead of the previous year, and consumption of refined copper at 5,752 million pounds was up 3.8%. The direct consumption of scrap was up 0.1% at 2,185 million pounds.

Building construction continued to be the largest end use market for copper products, accounting for more than two-fifths (42.6%) of total U.S. consumption. Electrical and electronic products accounted for 23.9% of total usage; transportation equipment, 12.1%; industrial machinery and equipment, 12.0%; and consumer and general products, 9.4%.