Jul. 21 (Bloomberg) –Refined-copper imports by China rebounded in June for the first time in three months, gaining 20 percent as buyers in the world’s biggest user started to replenish stockpiles after the local market tightened.
Inbound shipments totaled 178,638 metric tons last month, compared with 149,235 tons in May, according to Bloomberg News calculations based on data provided by the General Administration of Customs. Exports fell for a second month, slumping to 3,065 tons from 20,175 tons in May.
Inventories in China have fallen by about a half from March as imports in the first six months declined 30 percent from a year ago. Copper in London climbed to a three-month high on July 19 on expectation of further Chinese buying in the second half.
"We expect a gradual recovery of Chinese imports in the second half of this year," Xiao Jing, an analyst at Beijing Capital Futures Co., said. Still, "the high price now and the negative arbitrage in the past month may keep the July and August shipments relatively subdued."
Copper stockpiles at Shanghai Futures Exchange-monitored warehouses totaled 109,461 tons last week, 38 percent lower than this year’s high of 177,365 tons in mid-March. Bonded warehouse inventories fell to 300,000 tons to 350,000 tons from 600,000 tons in March, said Macquarie Group Ltd. analyst Duncan Hobbs on July 19.
Copper for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange dropped 0.2 percent to $9,740 a ton at 2:35 p.m. Shanghai time. It reached $9,873.50 a ton this week, the highest level since April 11.