According to the International Copper Study Group, refined copper consumption was 18.8 million tons in 2010, up from 16.7 million tons achieved in 2005. World copper consumption remained at near the 18 million tons during 2009, but showed significant improvement in 2010.
In particular, China continued to show robust growth in copper consumption while most of the rest of the world languished, despite widespread efforts by various governments to jump start their economies. U.S. consumption of industrial copper remained less than stellar over all of the period 2008-2010. In China, copper usage in 2009 was 45% higher than that of 2007. World copper recovered from all forms of scrap decreased slightly to about 6.7 million tons in 2009, but was up sharply to an estimated 7.7 million in 2010.
Scrap consumption in Asia has seen a remarkable increase since the early 1980‘s. As a group, the Middle East and Asian countries account for about 58% of world copper recovered from scrap in 2010. Consumption of copper from scrap in Asia grew from about 723,000 tons in 1980 to 2.4 million tons in 1995-1996. Following a short industrial contraction in 1997-1998, the region experienced an 8% drop to about 2 million tons of copper in scrap. However, by 2008, Asia and the Middle East scrap consumption had recovered to 5 million tons of copper per year, largely through the continued insatiable growth of Mainland China.
The Western European countries account for 21% and the countries of North and South America accounted for 12% of world copper recovered from all scrap in 2008. Germany, Italy, France and the United Kingdom are the leading consumers of copper scrap in Western Europe. The United States (10% of world total) is the major copper scrap consuming country of the America group. The Americas are the third largest copper scrap-consuming region, after Western Europe and Asia. The Oceania and Africa countries are minor scrap consumers.
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