SHANGHAI, Sep 15, 2011 (Dow Jones ) -- China's refined copper imports will likely remain in a range of 200,000 to 250,000 metric tons a month until the end of the year, a director from Yunnan Copper Industry (Group) Co. said Thursday.
"Demand from the power sector is quite firm and we see all the power grid projects around the country well under operation, so that should provide a strong support" to Chinese copper demand, Zhang Jinfeng, director of Developing Strategy Project Department, said on the sidelines of a Metal Bulletin conference.
China imported 194,280 tons of refined copper in July, an increase of 8.8% from June, while imports were 1.28 million tons in the January-July period, down 28% from a year earlier.
China slowed its purchases from global markets early this year as Beijing's monetary tightening restricted copper fabricators' access to bank loans, and this trend may continue as there is no hint yet of policy easing, Zhang said.
A recovery in demand--especially from the power sector--will offset the impact of tighter credit, Zhang said.
"The government is spending so much on power networks, so demand is always there," he said.
China plans to spend CNY292.5 billion ($45 billion) on power-grid networks in the next five years, mainly in network upgrades in rural areas. The power sector accounts for around 48% of China's total copper consumption.
Yunnan Copper is a unit of Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. (ACH) and is the country's fourth-largest copper producer by output.