SHANGHAI, Nov. 1 (SMM) –
China’s imports of copper concentrate were 683.5 kt in September, equaling 50-60 kt in metal content, and is the highest level so far this year, up 209 kt MoM, and up 21.76% YoY. SMM believes restarted production following unit maintenance in September resulted in greater demand for raw materials, despite of the existing low price ratio. In addition, since September is the last month of 3Q, this deadline may have caused imported copper concentrate to arrive in September, further boosting imports.
China’s imports of refined copper were 241.7 kt in September, down both on a monthly and yearly basis. The phenomenon of a strong LME and weak SHFE market during September was more pronounced, causing the SHFE/LME price ratio to fall. The falling price ratio further depressed importer enthusiasm, causing imports low. In addition, major domestic copper processing enterprises in Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces reported lower demand for copper in September due to the local government power restrictions. Finally, scrap copper enjoyed stronger price advantages in September, so some downstream producers chose scrap copper instead of refined copper, further reducing demand for imported copper.
China’s imports of copper semis were 77.2 kt in September, up slightly from 76.3 kt in August. SMM believes China’s imports of copper semis will not experience any major changes since there will be no significant improvement in downstream demand and due to the unfavorable ratio for imports. These factors, coupled with the impact from China’s National Day holiday in early October, leads SMM to predict China’s copper semis imports will drop slightly in October.
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