Earlier in October, Reuters reported that the surplus that is expected to flood the copper market this year has yet to pass, leaving both analysts and investors thinking that the inevitable has not been avoided, but merely postponed. "We've all expected this surplus to come through and it hasn't happened," Daniel Smith, an analyst at Standard Chartered in London, told Reuters. "People have underestimated the pace of demand growth this year for copper." French bank Natixis agrees that the copper market is not yet in surplus. According to Mineweb, the firm believes that although the level of copper stocks held in exchange warehouses seems to indicate that the market is already in surplus,a"[a]necdotal reports suggest that stocks of copper held at bonded warehouses in China peaked at somewhere between 1mn and 1.1mn tonnes in January, and have since fallen to a low of little more than 300,000 tonnes. Netting off 110,000 tonnes of higher exchange stocks versus 700-800,000 tonnes of lower bonded stocks suggests a substantial deficit." The only problem, as Mineweb points out, is "trying to figure out how many of these withdrawn stocks have actually been consumed." Natixis looks at three different models to answer its question: The first assumes Chinese imports of refined copper are similar to 2012 figures. The second assumes that China's end-user demand is in line with its GDP. The third is based on copper semis fabrication. Of the three, the bank believes the first two are the most believable. Through its study, the bank theorizes that "Chinese destocking accounted for around 300,000 tonnes of copper early this year, measures of consumption based on end-user demand rather than apparent demand would give us a deficit for the year of anything from 60,000 to 225,000 tonnes." If Natixis is correct, the copper market could see "unexpectedly" higher copper prices in the near future.