SHANGHAI, Jan. 14 (SMM) –
According to China Customs, China’s scrap copper imports during December were 440,000 mt, down 6.44% MoM and 1.53% YoY. Since LME copper prices fluctuated between USD 7,600-7,800/mt from late October through the end of November, the SHFE/LME copper price ratio rose gradually during November to around 7.30. In this context, losses for imported scrap copper fell sharply, so some domestic traders began showing interest in importing scrap copper. However, since import licenses for 2013 have to be re-examined and since the Chinese New Year holiday is nearing, SMM expects scrap copper imports will probably fall during both January and February, with imports falling to roughly 370,000 mt in January.
Unwrought Copper and Copper Semis
According to China Customs, China’s imports of unwrought copper and copper semis during December were 341,000 mt, down 24,000 mt, or 6.6% MoM, and also down 33.0% YoY. The decline in imports was in part due to the falling SHFE/LME copper price ratio, which caused losses for imported copper to grown to more than RMB 2,000/mt during most of December, and even as high as RMB 2,900/mt earlier in the month. In addition, companies were generally using up their annual quota for Letters of Credit (L/Cs), which also caused December imports to fall. New imported copper contracts have been executed since early 2013, but according to SMM sources, the amount is less than that from the same period of 2012. In this context, SMM believes China’s imports of unwrought copper and copper semis will likely fall in January.