SHANGHAI, Aug. 30 (SMM) –
According to China Customs, imports of copper concentrate were 466.5 kt in July, down 84 kt from June’s 550.5 kt, and also down 8% on a yearly basis. YTD imports of copper concentrate were 3.80 million mt, up 5.94% YoY. Yunnan Copper Company, Shandong Fangyuan Nonferrous Metals Group, Chifeng Jinjian Copper Industry Company, as well as other copper smelters, conducted unit maintenance in July, reducing demand for copper concentrates and is the reason imports were lower during July. In addition, a lower SHFE/LME copper price ratio compared with June also depressed demand for imported copper concentrate. The SHFE/LME copper price ratio continued to fall in August, and Jinlong Copper Company and Chifeng Yuntong Nonferrous Metals Company also began unit maintenance, so SMM predicts demand for copper concentrate will remain low during August.
According to China Customs, imports of refined copper were 224.7 kt during July, generally flat at June’s 212 kt, but down 23.14% YoY. YTD imports of refined copper were 1.78 million mt, down 14.22% YoY. Unwrought copper and copper semis released by China Customs in August posted MoM growth of 4%, with the growth mainly from copper semis in view of lower imports of refined copper in July. Since some goods previously ordered will arrive at Chinese ports in August, SMM predicts imports of refined copper will likely see increases in August, but any increases will be limited as the SHFE/LME copper price ratio fell further during the month.
China’s imports of copper semis were 78.6 kt during July, down 3.9 kt compared with June levels of 82.5 kt. SMM previously predicted copper semis imports would fall in July since demand for copper semis from end-users would also be down significantly in July. At present, imported copper semis no longer enjoy any price advantages since LME copper prices have outgained SHFE copper prices, which have also reduced domestic demand for imported copper semis. The SHFE/LME copper price ratio fell faster in August compared to July and demand is expected to weaken further from hotter weather in China, so SMM predicts copper semis imports will continue to fall in the short term.
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