BEIJING, Nov. 9 -- China's imports of refined copper will "sharply decline" in 2010 from this year as demand growth slows amid high stockpiles, said an analyst .
Imports are likely to fall from an estimated 3 million metric tons this year, said an analyst. "Copper use in the world's largest consumer will grow 8 percent to 5.8 million tons, slowing from this year's 10 percent gain".
Copper, used in pipes and power cables, has doubled in London this year as China's 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus spending and state stockpiling boosted imports to a record. Inventories of copper at warehouses monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange are almost six times the level at the beginning of the year.
"China has over-imported this year as can be seen from current high stocks, partly due to a sharp decline of scrap copper" availability. "Imports of scrap will recover due to improved availability and prices."
Inventories of copper at Shanghai warehouses stand at 104,275 tons, the highest in more than five years and up from 17,822 tons at the start of the year. China's copper imports more than doubled in the first nine months to 2.6 million metric tons, according to customs data.
Copper for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange declined 0.6 percent to $6,490 a ton on Nov. 6.