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Big Copper Conference Joins List of Virus-Canceled Gatherings

March 2, 2020
Copper, considered an economic bellwether, has dropped about 8% this year.

One of the world’s biggest copper conferences joined a growing list of events that are being canceled as the spread of the coronavirus disrupts travel and deters large gatherings.

Cesco Week Santiago and an accompanying dinner, set for the week of March 23, have been scrubbed “due to the uncertainty generated by the current situation of Covid-19,” the Center for Copper and Mining Studies, an organizer of the event, said in a statement Monday.

Some of the biggest names in the copper industry gather each year in Santiago for the Cesco conference to discuss their outlook for the market. Speakers that had been scheduled for the event included Danny Malchuk, head of BHP Group’s Americas minerals operations; Harry “Red” Conger, Freeport-McMoRan Inc.’s Americas president and chief operating officer; and Codelco Chief Executive Officer Octavio Araneda.

Copper, considered an economic bellwether, has dropped about 8% this year as investors struggle to gauge whether the virus will turn into a pandemic and how severe the economic impact will be. The metal traded in New York fell for five straight days through Friday, before rising on Monday on bets that central banks will take steps to stimulate growth.

Global economic growth will sink to levels not seen in over a decade as the outbreak hammers demand and supply, challenging central banks and governments to respond to a fast-changing situation, according to the OECD. The copper event’s cancellation comes as one of the most important energy-industry gatherings, due to start next week, was also scrapped on Sunday.

The global death toll from the outbreak has surpassed 3,000. The virus continues to spread, with the first infections appearing in New York City, Moscow, Brussels and Berlin, while cases have jumped in the hot spots of Italy, Iran and South Korea.

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