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Hopes of a sustained recovery in Chilean copper shipments are fading after the biggest-producing nation saw July exports come in at the lowest level since January.

Revenue from shipments last month slumped 13% from June levels, despite slightly higher prices for the metal. That suggests Chilean operations continue to endure project delays and mine-specific setbacks that have restrained production for the past year and a half.

Weaker supply out of Chile — a country that accounts for a quarter of global production — also helps explain why Chinese inventories are nearing critically low levels.