虽然两家公司第一次宣布合并已经要追溯到2011年，但他们周二表示合并最后期限再度延期至今年4月16日。他们需要等待中国政府的批准，后者将审查合并对中国铜市场的可能影响。《华尔街日报》（Wall Street Journal）报道称，嘉能可首席执行官伊凡•格拉森伯格认为，中国政府最终将批准这宗购案，它只是漫长国际审批流程的最后一关。
首先，中国开始关注铜的原因在于中国已成为世界头号铜消费大国。根据国际铜研究小组（the International Copper Study Group）2012年下半年发布的报告，中国市场对铜的需求占据了全球的40%。格伦•艾维斯是德勤（Deloitte）加拿大分公司的主席，同时还是一位矿业分析专家。他说，随着中国工业化进程，这个需求不会减弱。“如果政府大力推进城镇化，为农村转移人口提供足够的电力就是其中不可回避的一项任务，”他说，这就意味着需要大量的铜线。
Big things are going on in Switzerland. The products involved may not tug at consumer heartstrings like a Coke or an iPad, but they're essential, and some are very shiny. Swiss commodities giant Glencore and Swiss mining company Xstrata are on the verge of a multibillion dollar merger that would give both access to massive mineral wealth and other raw materials worldwide.
Though the merger was first announced in 2011, the companies said Tuesday that they are extending the deadline to complete the deal to April 16. The companies need extra time because the Chinese government is reviewing how the deal could potentially affect its copper market. According to the Wall Street Journal, Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg says he believes that Chinese officials will ultimately accept the deal, the last step in a lengthy international approval process.
Then why the hold up?
For one, China is tuned into copper because it is the world's top consumer of the metal. The country accounts for 40% of copper's global demand, according to the International Copper Study Group's report issued late 2012. That demand will hold as China continues to industrialize, says Glenn Ives, mining expert and chair of Deloitte Canada. "If you're taking a rural population and urbanizing them, one of the things you do is provide them with electricity," he says, which requires plenty of copper wiring.
China needs copper in ways that more mature markets don't. To add to the crunch, while there are plenty of copper reserves worldwide, there may not be enough mines producing the metal to meet China's future demand, Ives says.
The market for copper is relatively tight. Unlike gold, which is susceptible to bubbles, copper supply and demand are just about even. That means that the market could become volatile quickly if, for example, a small number of mines can't meet demand. For investors, that could lead to higher commodity prices. But for China, it would translate into a major shortage of a much-needed metal.
China's delay of the Glencore-Xstrata deal highlights one of many potential operational issues when working in the country. China, right now, needs a different mix of commodities, in this case metals, than developed countries. Accordingly, the government will take its time to scrutinize any deal that could alter its supply. Companies like Glencore and Xstrata must cater to that careful review process, since China will be one of the most important consumers of commodities for the foreseeable future.
For Chinese leaders, delaying the deal is likely part of an attempt to prevent a lull in supply that could stunt economic growth. "I actually think the deep-rooted concern in China is that there may be a time that they just cannot get commodities in general," Ives says.