SHANGHAI, Jul. 2 (SMM) –
According to China Customs, China's copper concentrate imports in May were 668,000 mt (physical content), up 193,000 mt from April's 475,000 mt. The increase was due to two reasons. First, some large copper smelters planned to resume normal production in June following maintenance, which increased demand for copper concentrate during May. Second, the SHFE/LME copper price ratio began improving in May after copper prices fell continuously, while spot TC/RC for copper concentrate rose to USD 40-60/mt (cents 4.0-6.0/lb), which was near prices for long-term copper concentrate contracts, enticing both traders and copper smelters to increase demand.
According to China Customs, China's refined copper imports in May were 302,000 mt, and back above 300,000 mt again after falling to 273,000 mt in April. China's refined copper imports have remained relatively high since early 2012, totaling 1.63 million mt from January to May, up 80.27% YoY. The sharp increase in refined copper imports have added pressure to domestic copper supply, especially after large quantities of imported copper recently entered domestic markets as the SHFE/LME copper price ratio improved. However, domestic copper consumption failed to increase, so spot copper premiums have recently decreased along with the falling copper futures prices. According to SHFE data released June 21st, SHFE copper stocks increased by 6,941 mt during that week following declines the previous ten weeks.