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Japan July Copper Cable Shipments up 2.9 pct yr/yr
Aug 23, 2010 15:30CST

TOKYO, Aug. 23 -- Japanese copper wire and cable shipments rose 2.9 percent in July from a year earlier to an estimated 59,700 tonnes as demand firmed, data from the Japanese Electric Wire and Cable Makers' Association showed.

It was the seventh straight month of year-on-year gains, although shipments were still about 18 percent below levels two years ago before demand plunged as automakers cut output to cope with the economic crisis of late 2008.

July shipments were also up 5.4 percent from June's 56,668 tonnes.

Demand for copper, used extensively in utensils, construction materials and computer chips, is often seen as a measure of economic activity.

Demand has now recovered to around 80 percent of pre-crisis levels mainly due to brisk domestic demand in the electronics and automobile sectors and in China, but persistent deflationary pressure in Japan and sluggishness in the construction sector, a major consumer of the metal, are keeping the outlook uncertain.

The industry group said shipments for the construction sector fell 3.6 percent from a year earlier, marking a 22nd straight month of year-on-year declines, although the size of the drop has been narrowing in recent months.

Trade data for June has shown that Japan's refined copper exports fell 22 percent that month from a year earlier to 45,180 tonnes, extending year-on-year declines for an eighth straight month.

The pace of the decline in June picked up slightly from May's 19 percent year-on-year fall.

China's share of exports from Japan has stayed relatively low at around 40 percent, as Chinese imports slowed.

But China's copper imports rose 4.5 percent on the month in July, the first rise in four months, likely signalling the start of a pick-up in purchases ahead of peak consumption in September.

Refined copper production in China, the world's top consumer, saw a monthly fall of 5.7 percent in July on scrap shortages and reduced power flows in the summer, while smelters are eyeing solid demand prospects for the rest of the year.

Members of the cable makers' association include Furukawa Electric (5801.T: Quote), Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd (5802.T: Quote), Fujikura Ltd (5803.T: Quote), Hitachi Cable Ltd (5812.T: Quote) and SWCC Showa Holdings Co Ltd (5805.T: Quote).



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