July 10 (Bloomberg) -- Copper imports by China, the largest consumer, fell for a third month in June as expectations of a slowdown in demand and concerns about the strength of the global economic recovery reduced orders.
Shipments of copper and products declined 17 percent to 328,231 metric tons in June, the customs office said today. That compares with May's 396,712 tons, and is 31 percent less than 477,220 tons a year earlier, according to Bloomberg calculations.
Copper in London had its first quarterly decline since 2008 in the April-to-June period on concerns over the strength of the global economy and falling imports by China. Copper is used to make wires and pipes for construction and manufacturing.
"The drop in June copper imports is unexpected because previously the market consensus was looking at possibly 430,000 tons," said Judy Zhu, an analyst at Standard Chartered Bank, said by phone from Shanghai. "The drop may attest to importers growing uneasy about the economic recovery and their expectation that demand for the base metal will be reduced in the second half."
Copper on the London Metal Exchange gained 2.2 percent to $6,760 a ton yesterday before China's release of the trade data. Prices declined 16 percent in the second quarter, the first drop since the final three months of 2008.
China also imported 350,000 tons of scrap copper in June, compared with 330,000 tons in May, the Beijing-based customs said. Imports of aluminum and the metal's products were 74,582 tons last month, the figures show, compared with 94,487 tons in May and 353,420 tons in June 2009.