SHANGHAI, Feb. 25 (SMM) –
According to China Customs, China's scrap copper imports during January were 380,000 mt, down 14.28% MoM, but up 65.92% YoY. Negatively affected by new environmental protection approval procedures, scrap copper imports fell in early 2013 and are expected to fall below 300,000 mt in February due to the Chinese New Year holiday. As a result, domestic scrap copper supply will tighten further and help keep scrap copper prices firm.
Unwrought Copper and Copper Semis
According to China Customs, China's imports of unwrought copper and copper semis during January were 350,958 mt, up slightly from 341,211 mt in December. SMM estimates China's refined copper imports for January will be around 240,000 mt.
SMM analysis would indicate that since the SHFE/LME copper price ratio improved, the average loss for imported copper during January shrank to RMB 2,160/mt, down from RMB 2,448/mt in December, but still above RMB 2,000/mt. This level of losses, however, still depressed market interest for importing copper.
According to the latest data released by China's central bank, new loans in January reached RMB 1.07 trillion, but relatively loose liquidity dampened financing demand. In this context, SMM expects a slight decline in China's refined copper imports during January.
Since some end-users of copper semis are now more confident over future demand, China's copper semis imports should increase for the foreseeable future.