SHANGHAI, Oct. 29 (SMM) –
Apparent consumption of China's refined copper during September was 797,600 mt, up 37,300 mt or 4.9% MoM, and due largely to a surge in refined copper imports. Nevertheless, as the SHFE/LME copper price ratio remained unfavorable for imports, the increased volume of imported copper just piled up at Chinese bonded warehouses. According to an SMM survey of copper semis producers, the average operating rate at the producers during September was 67.4%, down 2.7% from August's 70.1%, and evidence that demand was still sluggish. As the SHFE/LME copper price ratio becomes more favorable for imports during October, some copper stocks at Chinese bonded warehouses will flow into Chinese domestic markets, and actual consumption of refined copper should be higher than apparent consumption.
Apparent consumption of China's copper semis during September was 1.0503 million mt, up 46,800 mt or 4.69% MoM. YTD consumption through September was 8.6508 million mt, also up 8.37% YoY. The average operating rate at copper wire rod producers during October is up from September levels, due mainly to gradual recovery in enameled wire demand, which, though, is expected to have a limited impact. Hence, SMM believes apparent consumption of copper semis during October will be between 1-1.05 million mt.