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 The global copper market is expected to be in surplus by 285 000 t this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with the overhang rising to 675 000 t in 2021, an industry body said in a report.

The forecast from the International Wrought Copper Council (IWCC) against the backdrop of coronavirus-related demand destruction that is expected to dwarf the impact of supply disruptions for industrial metals.

 “These are unprecedented times and the copper industry is not immune from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the IWCC said in the report posted on its website on Wednesday.

“The economic disruption and its impact on the copper industry has resulted in greater uncertainty in the factors affecting supply and demand for copper.”Copper is widely used in the power and construction industries.

The IWCC, which represents copper and copper alloy fabricators, said the pandemic will reduce cooper demand by 5.4% in 2020 but it could rebound by 4.4% in 2021.

Refined copper production this year is forecast to be 22.91-million tonnes against demand of 22.625 million tonnes. In 2021 output is expected to rise to 24.3 million tonnes, with demand at 23.625 million tonnes.

In China, which accounts for roughly half of global copper consumption, refined copper demand is seen falling by 2.8% to 11.87-million tonnes this year but rising 2.6% to 12.175-million tonnes in 2021.

In Europe, refined copper consumption will slide 6.4% in 2020 before climbing 5.4% to 2.927-million tonnes next year.

In North America, including the United States, Canada and Mexico, refined copper demand this year is expected to slip 6.9% to 2.223-million tonnes before registering a 5.3% upturn in 2021.