SHANGHAI, Nov. 10 (SMM) -- A recent SMM survey of 20 major domestic copper cable producers (total capacity: 812kt/yr) revealed the following insights:
1) Operating Rates
According to the survey, the average operating rate at the 20 producers was 79.3% in November, down 4.3% MoM, but up 10.1% YoY. Operating rates at large producers experienced significant declines, as orders began falling steadily with the onset of the seasonal low demand period for copper cable, and as the weather in north China turns colder. However, the copper cable sector is showing a more robust performance this November, compared to the same month last year during the financial crisis.
2) Consumption of Raw Materials
The survey also revealed raw material inventories at the 20 copper cable producers, as a proportion of monthly copper consumption during November, was 23.6%, down 0.7% from October levels. Inventories of raw materials at producers fell as a result of the seasonal low demand period for copper cable, but any downward room for raw materials inventories was limited since operating rates were still relatively unchanged. In general, copper cable producers have purchased raw material stocks based on existing orders, but inventories are still relatively higher than other industries.
3) Forecast of December Orders
According to the survey, 35% of producers believe December orders will be flat at October orders, as they said copper cable producers generally received long-term orders, helping maintain their orders stable. 35% of producers predict December orders will drop, as the cold weather in north China will exert negative impact on the infrastructure construction, helping reduce the demand for copper cable. Meanwhile, copper price fluctuations and the attempt to generate cash by producers will also be responsible for declines in December orders. The remaining 30% of producers believe December orders may increase, as orders of enameled wire will increase with the onset of seasonal peak demand period for enameled wire.
4) Forecast of Copper Prices
The survey reveals 40% of producers believe copper prices will continue to fluctuate in the coming month. 25% of producers predict copper prices will climb, as the US dollar will fall further, helping support copper prices to inch up. 20% of producers were uncertain about future copper prices, while the remaining 15% of producers were concerned about copper prices in December, and they believe declines in orders and the willingness of producers to generate cash will exert downward pressure on copper prices.
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