SHANGHAI, Jun. 18 (SMM) – A recent SMM survey of 22 major domestic copper plate, sheet, strip, and foil producers (total capacity: 960,000 mt/yr) revealed the following insights:
1) May Average Operating Rate Falls
The average operating rate during May at copper plate, sheet, strip, and foil producers was 63.28%, down 1.8% MoM, and due largely to downstream enterprises beginning a seasonal low-demand period. Large producers during May reported stable orders, but operating rate at medium and small producers slid by 9% and 10%, respectively. Most downstream enterprises using copper plate, sheet, and strip entered were in a seasonal low-demand period during May, limiting exports and with demand coming mostly from copper plate, sheet, and strip used in high-end electronic products. As copper prices fell, downstream enterprises were also hesitant to place orders, further dampening demand for copper plate, sheet, strip, and foil. In addition, demand for copper clad laminates and lithium batteries, which consume copper foil products, was also sluggish during May. In this context, SMM anticipates operating rates at copper plate, sheet, strip, and foil producers to continue falling during June.
2) May Raw Material Inventories Down to 17.81%
Raw material inventories during May at copper plate, sheet, strip, and foil producers were only 17.81% of production. Some producers replenished stocks when copper prices fell initially, but then only purchased as needed as prices fell and as the seasonal low demand period neared.