Japan’s output of copper-alloy products climbed for the ninth straight month in July from a year earlier because of demand from the semiconductor and auto industries, the Japan Copper and Brass Association said.
Production, including sheets and tubes, gained 21.4 percent to 75,920 metric tons last month compared with 62,549 tons a year ago, the industry group said today, citing preliminary data. The increase was the smallest this year, according to the data.
Prices of copper, used in pipes and wires, have risen 19 percent in London from the year’s lowest closing price of $6,101 a ton on June 7. Japan’s overseas shipments for goods advanced 23.5 percent in July from a year earlier, the Finance Ministry said Aug. 25.
"Output exceeded the 75,000-ton level for the second straight month thanks to the export-led economic recovery,” Keizo Tani, the association’s research section manager, said today. “Looking ahead, the industry is concerned about the yen’s strength and the expiry of the government’s subsidy program.”
Output declined from 76,374 tons in June after the country’s export growth slowed for a fifth month in July, adding to risks in an economy under threat from the yen’s surge to a 15-year high against the dollar.
The yen traded at 84.31 per dollar at 12:02 p.m. in Tokyo from 84.45 yen in New York yesterday. It reached 83.60 on Aug. 24, the strongest level since 1995. The yen’s rally makes Japanese goods more expensive for overseas buyers.
The government’s subsidy program, which exempts purchases of electric, hybrid, natural gas and some diesel vehicles from taxes, is to expire at the end of September.
The country’s copper wire and cable shipments totaled 59,700 tons in July, up 2.9 percent from 58,032 tons a year earlier, the Japanese Electric Wire and Cable Makers’ Association said Aug. 23.