Zambia's Standard Chartered Bank has said the stimulus package in the United States and China will increase demand for copper and prices should appreciate, Zambia Daily Mail reported on Wednesday.
The 787 billion U.S. dollars stimulus package in the United States will include expenditure on copper-intensive projects such as public transport and school buildings while China has a stimulus package of 568 billion dollars to boost the infrastructure market, which is copper-intensive, the newspaper said.
Meanwhile, the bank has increased its consumer banking deposit book to over 1.2 trillion kwacha (about 220 million U.S. dollars) as at December 2008 following the successful Bank a Ride campaign embarked on last year.
The bank's managing director Mizinga Melu said the campaign was aimed at increasing deposits and rewarding existing customers.
Melu said the campaign allowed the bank to remain open for business and focus on continued lending coupled with product innovation and better service delivery.
Whilst it is generally accepted that the economic environment in Zambia, like the rest of the world, is highly challenging to most businesses. We remain confident in the economic prosperity of this country, she said.
She said copper prices were expected to rebound this year as demand increases with a weakening US dollar, adding that in China, wire and cable manufacturers were reported to have increased production in recent weeks with usage rates now running at 90 percent.
Standard Chartered Bank continues to believe that demand will be a key driver for copper demand in the months ahead, she said.
In the short-term, we forecast that demand for copper will remain fairly weak with prices averaging between 3,200 and 3,600 U.S. dollars per tonne. Experts say the year end closing price will be just above 3,700 dollars, she said.