PCB Laminate Availability - September 2017

Thatcham, UK - earlier this year we saw how global copper prices have increased, due to the continued use of copper in emerging technologies such as lithium ion batteries used in electric vehicles, tablets and mobile phones. 

As detailed in July, copper prices were relatively stable up to October 2016, the price then jumped in November 2016 by 19% to $5,871 m/tonne, increasing in January 2017 by 23% to $5,999 m/tonne over October 2016 prices.  Since January the price had remained relatively stable with July's value finishing at $6,023 m/tonne.

However as we will see, in August the value increased to $6,788 m/tonne, an increase of 12.7%, falling to $6,521 m/tonne as of mid-September, a fall of 4% from August.

Copper Prices - 12 Months to Sep 2017 ($/m tonne)

In October 2016 EMS reported that;

"The demand is leading to a potential limitation of copper foil supply with some manufacturers reporting problems with obtaining copper foil to fulfil orders.  As this continues there is a risk this will lead to further price increases before copper supply increases to meet the new demand."


At the time EMS was not aware of any impacts to the supply chain, in March 2017 suppliers started to report occurrences of problems relating to the availability of PCB laminate.  Ventec, one of the worlds leading suppliers of PCB laminate advised;

“The copper foil shortage has resulted in approximately 2.8M sheets per month of Copper clad laminate global material shortage. This is approximately 2X the total rigid demand of USA and Europe combined. We expect the situation to last at least until the middle / end of 2018.”

Impact to Customers

As of September 2017, suppliers are indicating that the impact to the supply chain has been limited and material is available.  However as detailed in the above chart, the price clearly has increased significantly through August and into September 2017.


EMS can help you to manage the impact of these cost increases on your supply chain by considering;

  • Stock holding, but this is limited by the recommended PCB shelf life.
  • Scheduled orders, with suppliers guaranteeing to secure stock at fixed pricing to fulfil the order.

If you have any questions concerning the material availability or how EMS can help you to minimise the impact then please contact EMS today.