SHANGHAI, Dec. 26 (SMM) –
China's imports of copper concentrate (actual content) were 672,600 mt in November, up by 155,500 mt (about 40,000 mt copper content) from October's 517,100 mt. Since copper output at domestic copper smelters was down during November due to unit maintenance, demand for copper concentrate was also lower. However, since these smelters plan to resume copper output in December, many chose to increase copper concentrate inventories during November.
According to China Customs, China's imports of refined copper during November were 343,900 mt, the second historical high. As the SHFE/LME copper price ratio improved during November, and since the month was between China's National Day holiday and Christmas/New Year's Day holidays, downstream enterprises chose to digest orders in November, causing operating rates to increase and helping copper demand rally. Markets were generally cautious before the Christmas holiday, so profit margins are relatively low at present. In this context, SMM believes China's imports of refined copper will fall to around 300,000 mt in December.
According to China Customs, China's imports of copper semis in November were 63,100 mt, up 9,900 mt from October's 53,200 mt, but still low for the year. Higher operating rates at domestic copper semis producers during November led to lower demand for imported copper semis. Since copper semis demand from end-users is generally stable, China's imports of copper semis will likely remain low in December.