SHANGHAI, Jan. 21 (SMM) – SMM's latest survey of 22 major domestic copper plate, sheet, strip and foil producers (total capacity: 1.01 million mt/yr) yielded the following insights:
1) Average Operating Rate 58.52% in December
The average operating rate during December at the surveyed copper plate, sheet, strip and foil producers was 58.52%, virtually flat with November, but up 5.92% YoY and also slightly above the 58.25% monthly average for 2012. Although the December rate remained flat, overall copper plate, sheet, strip and foil consumption did rebound from previous lows and has now remained stable. The surveyed producers believe the average rate expected in January is 57.13% and is not likely to fall sharply despite the Chinese New Year holiday factor. Electronic, home appliance and automobile sectors improved during December, with the latest NBS data showing that automobile output during December rose 3.7% MoM and integrated circuit exports grew as well. Market expectations are now growing for a post-holiday turnaround in consumption of copper plate, sheet, strip and foil.
2) Raw Material Stocks Down Slightly in December
Raw material stocks during December at the surveyed producers were 21.73% of production, down 0.47% from the previous month. Producers replenished stocks when copper prices moved around RMB 56,500/mt, but were buying on an as-needed basis in order to minimize financial risks during the Chinese New Year holiday.