Sep 10 (Bloomberg)--
Copper imports by China, the world’s largest consumer, advanced for a second month on expectations of an increase in demand and as orders placed when it was profitable to bring in metal were delivered.
Shipments of copper and products increased 11 percent to 379,527 metric tons from 342,901 in July, according to customs data.
Imports also increased from 325,098 in August last year, according to Bloomberg calculations.
Copper stockpiles in China have been mostly falling since May, and expectations of a seasonal increase in demand prompted some trading firms to place orders. Imports climbed for the first time in four months in July as arbitrage traders sought profits by buying the metal in London and selling it in Shanghai.
"Some traders actively placed orders” during July to benefit from the price difference, Grace Qu, a Beijing-based analyst with CRU International Ltd., said by phone.
Copper for three-month delivery on the London Metal Exchange settled at $7,555 a ton yesterday before release of the trade data, and declined 0.4 percent to $7,525 a ton at 1:42 p.m. in Shanghai.
Arbitrage had been profitable for some of July, according to Bloomberg data. Shipping usually takes up to one-and-a-half months.
Copper stockpiles monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange were at 105,917 tons as of Sept. 3, the lowest level since the week ended July 29, according to data provided by the exchange.
"Some market participants have high hopes about seasonal demand in the coming fall,” Ying Haoliang, an analyst at Orient Securities Futures Co., said by phone from Shanghai. The relatively good Chinese economic data and the low stocks level prompted traders to buy the metal, he said.
China’s total exports rose 34.4 percent and inbound shipments climbed a more-than-forecast 35.2 percent, leaving a $20.03 billion excess, a customs bureau report showed today. That compared with $15.7 billion a year earlier and the median $26.9 billion estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 34 economists.
With imports indicating "robust” domestic spending, the data will help to diminish concern that the Chinese economy could be heading for a "hard landing,” said Shen Jianguang, a Mizuho Securities Asia Ltd. economist in Hong Kong.
China also imported 400,000 tons of scrap copper, up from 380,000 tons in July, data from the Beijing-based customs showed. Imports of aluminum and the metal’s products advanced to 72,628 tons from 67,462 tons in July.