May 24, 2016,09:00 +0900(JST) Attended the IWCC General Assembly and Joint Meeting in Cape Town
From May 8 to 11, I attended the International Wrought Copper Council (IWCC) General Assembly and Joint Meeting, which was held in Cape Town, South Africa. Held annually, the event draws representatives from a variety of parties connected to the copper industry, such as from mining companies, refining companies, fabricating companies, trading firms, exchanges, and government agencies. In the event, participants exchange opinions on a wide range of topics such as technological progress, situations in the industry, and global economic trends.
At this year's event, partly because the host country was South Africa, many presentations were given regarding the African economic and political situations, with an emphasis on the region's mining activities. This made me reflect deeply on my lack of daily efforts to keep up with the African political, economic, and social situations.
The event attracted more than 200 participants from around the world, including about 30 from Japan. They paid much attention to changes in the price trends of commodities in general, especially copper price trends.
Rapid price changes have a considerable impact on fabricating companies. There is no option but to accept structural changes in the entire industry, such as changes of the management policy of the London Metal Exchange (LME) and the speculative entry of different industries into the market. However, each related sector needs to make some kind of contribution and do its best to ensure sound development of the copper industry.
In particular, it is necessary to recognize with a sense of crisis that customers, who are the end users, are keenly aware of the instability of the copper market, and are seriously considering substitutes. As indicated by the LME warehousing problem, some people care only about themselves, but I have always asserted that this attitude is never acceptable in terms of sound development of the copper industry. Still, since the interests of each party concerned are interrelated in a complicated manner, it is difficult to solve the problem.