SHANGHAI, Mar. 13 (SMM) – Based on the latest SMM survey, the utilization rate of scrap copper at major Chinese copper wire rod producers fell sharply in February, down to 0.18%. Scrap copper imports decreased appreciably at the beginning of 2013 due to new environmental protection approval procedures and the Chinese New Year holiday. In this context, domestic scrap copper supply constraints failed to alleviate, forcing scrap copper cargo-holders to hold prices firm. Hence, the price differential between scrap and refined copper shrank gradually, indicating that scrap copper had less price advantage. In addition, copper rod consumption remained sluggish in February, also depressing scrap copper demand.