SHANGHAI, Aug. 15 (SMM) –
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), China's output of copper concentrate was 114 kt in July, down 10 kt from June. Recent high TC for imported copper concentrate negatively affected demand from copper smelters for domestic copper concentrate and had an indirect impact on output of domestic copper concentrate. Since large copper mines in China are mostly owned by copper smelters, domestic output of copper concentrate will not fall significantly and SMM expects China' s copper concentrate output to remain around 110 kt in August.
According to the NBS, China's output of refined copper was 478 kt in July, up only 1 kt from June, but still a record high monthly output for refined copper. Based on an SMM survey of major domestic copper smelters, operating rates at copper smelters were 90.5% in July, up from June's 88.3%. SMM believes ample supply of copper concentrate, as well as falling scrap copper prices, was behind the growth in output. As the price gap between scrap and refined copper expanded, recycled copper smelter output also rose, adding to the increase in refined copper output. However, SMM still holds the view that refined copper output in August will remain stable or fall slightly.
According to the NBS, China's output of copper semis was 959 kt in July, down 95 kt or 9.0% MoM, and basically in line with market expectations. As July is the seasonal low demand period for copper semis, high temperatures and power restrictions negatively affected operating rates at producers. Furthermore, export demand for copper semis weakened along with the arrival of summer vocation in Europe and the US,, sending July output down from in June's 1 million mt. As negative factors mentioned above remain, SMM believes copper semis output will hover around 950 kt during August.