Feb 10, 2020 02:11 PM

BHP in Talks to Delay Copper Shipments to China as Virus Spreads

Photo: IC Photo
Photo: IC Photo

(Bloomberg) — BHP Group Ltd., the world’s top miner, is in talks with Chinese customers to delay shipments of copper concentrates as the nation extended plant shutdowns to combat the spread of the coronavirus, according to people familiar with the matter.

Suppliers are considering giving buyers in China flexibility on deliveries to discourage them from declaring force majeure, offering them a way out of contractual obligations, said the people, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public. In Chile, miners are already working with clients to defer cargoes.

A spokesman for BHP wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Copper prices slid for a record 14 straight days in London amid mounting concerns the coronavirus will aggravate the slowdown in global economic growth, crimping demand for the metal used in cars, electronic gadgets and construction. Prices rebounded briefly this week but resumed their slide Friday as automakers extended their shutdowns.

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