SHANGHAI, July 19 (SMM) -
According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), China’s output of copper concentrate was 111 kt in June, up 5 kt from 106 kt in May. High operating rates at domestic copper smelters have improved demand for domestic ores, while limited resources have restricted output of domestic copper concentrate. SMM believes China’s copper concentrate output will remain stable in July.
According to NBS, China’s output of refined copper was 422 kt in June, up 24 kt or 6.03%, from 398 kt in May. SMM believes there are two reasons behind the higher copper output in China. First, China’s copper demand did not fall during June. However imports of refined and scrap copper were lower, creating stronger demand for domestic copper, resulting in higher production rates from domestic copper smelters. Second, domestic copper smelters with plans for regular summer unit maintenance increased production for long-term contract supply before maintenance begins. As some domestic copper producers have been conducting maintenance since early July, SMM believes that China’s output of refined copper for July will drop by around 10%.
According to NBS, China’s output of copper semis was 1.009 million mt in June, an increase of 44 kt from 965 kt in May, or up 4.70%, which was in line with SMM’s previous survey of operating rates at downstream producers. Downstream demand showed no significant decline in June, instead continued to grow, stimulated by falling copper prices. However, this condition did not continue into July. Based on SMM’s survey in July, China’s copper semis output during July is expected to fall.
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