Copper demand bolstered by green transition, says Fitch Solutions

25th June 2021 By: Tasneem Bulbulia - Creamer Media Reporter

Research firm Fitch Solutions Country Risk and Industry has revised its copper demand forecast to 31.7-million tonnes in 2030, up from the 29.8-million tonnes previously forecast.

This is owing to its forecast that green copper demand will grow from 1.5-million tonnes in 2020 to five-million tonnes in 2030; and that green copper as a percentage of total copper demand will rise from about 5.6% this year to 15.7% in 2030.

Growing from a forecast 1.4-million tonnes this year to 5.4-million tonnes in 2030, Fitch expects green copper demand to average yearly growth of 13% over the next decade.

The company highlights that, as the pace and shape of the green transition is fast becoming one of the key themes for the global economy this year and beyond, it aims to quantify its impact on the demand for copper, a fundamental material for electrification and renewable energy.

“We see strong upside risks to our green copper demand forecasts as grid-scale energy storage for renewables, a nascent industry at present, is set to experience robust growth in the medium term,” the company notes.

Fitch Solutions adds that, in addition to popular battery metals like lithium, copper will experience a surge in demand over its forecast period from 2021 to 2030.

It says that the demand profile for copper will change, from its current three broad categories of building construction, infrastructure and manufacturing, to more demand from the energy and automotive sectors, owing to decarbonisation goals accelerating this year.

Going forward, Fitch Solutions believes demand from the power and renewables sector, as well as the automotive sector, will each account for 7.9% of total copper demand by 2030.

It notes that China will significantly dominate global renewables growth over the coming decade, representing a forecast 42% of global renewables capacity installation between 2020 and 2030.

It also cites India as an emerging market to watch within the Asia-Pacific region. Other emerging markets where copper demand is likely to accompany solid renewables expansion include Turkey and Brazil.

Simultaneously, developed countries with strong renewables net capacity additions, such as the US, Germany and Spain, will witness stronger and elevated average copper consumption growth rates in the comping years, states Fitch Solutions.

It says the green transition will see the automotive sector boost demand for copper through growth in three main areas - plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (EVs), battery EVs and EV charging ports.

It notes that growth in the EV sector will lead to a steady rise in green demand for copper in the coming years, with the sector accounting for 50% of green demand by 2030, compared with 22% this year.