“The increase in September gives further support to the view that copper theft may be stabilising at levels above 10 million rand per month,” said the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) in a statement.
SACCI added that this is the fourth monthly increase in the year in what has been a relatively volatile nine months to date, with the Barometer ranging from 15.4 million to 10.7 million rand.
The Copper Theft Volume Indicator increased to 173 metric tons in September, from 160 tons in August and 158 tons in July 2014.
SACCI said with this downward trajectory, policy interventions against copper theft needs to be ramped up.
“The prospect of constrained power supply until early November as announced by Eskom on Wednesday adds urgency to the task of ensuring optimal efficiency of South Africa’s power supply network.”
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The international average monthly spot price of copper has also been on a downward trend, from 7,005 US dollars per metric ton in August to 6,871 US dollars in September and 6,734 US dollars in October.
“The movement in the copper price mirrors the weakening in other commodity prices like gold and oil, so the downward copper price trend is typical of a broader global trend,” continued the statement.
Exports of waster copper products in South Africa have dropped significantly from 24.6 million US dollars in June, 15.4 million US dollars in July and 7 million US dollars in August.
“Waste metal has been subject to a domestic preference pricing system (PPS) of 10 per cent since September 2013, so the significant drop in exports in August is unlikely to be related to the PPS and likely to be a reporting issue or a structural factor,” explained SACCI.
(WATCH VIDEO: Copper Theft Disruptions – Socio-Economic Impact )