SHANGHAI, May 17 (SMM) - A recent SMM survey of 17 medium and large-size copper plate, sheet, strip and foil producers (total capacity: 860 kt) revealed the following insights:
1) Operating Rates Flat MoM, Down YoY
According to the SMM survey, the average operating rate at the 17 copper plate, sheet, strip and foil producers was 64.7% in May, flat with April levels, but down on a yearly basis. Producers surveyed told SMM that orders were so strong that producers were able to maintain stable operating rates from March to May. Operating rates at large producers were low since much of the capacity is recently commissioned. Smaller producers maintained operating rates above 90%, and with flexible production models.
2) Raw Material Inventories Fall
The survey shows raw material inventories at the 17 producers were 34.1% of production during May, down from 42.8% in April. Falling raw material inventories were due largely to the minimizing the financial risk in building stocks during late April and early May when copper prices were fluctuating wildly. Based on the survey, producers told SMM that they would not hurry to add stocks at current low prices due to price volatility, opting to wait for a more clear market direction.
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