SHANGHAI, Apr. 16 (SMM) –
China March Copper Imports Up 7.2% MoM, but Down Sharply YoY
In March, copper imports in China were up 7.2% on a monthly basis in preparation for post-holiday demand. The imports fell 30% over March 2012, a sign of lower expectations over consumption recovery.
According to China Customs, China imported 319,603 mt of unwrought copper and copper semis in March, higher than 298,102 mt in February. The imports in February hit a 20-month low due to production shutdowns for the 2013 Chinese New Year holiday. The figure in March was still below 350,958 mt in January 2013.
In February, the arbitrage spread between LME and Shanghai physical market provided the most favorable opportunities for arbitrage trading since late 2011, allowing investors and end users both to shift goods from Shanghai bonded warehouses to domestic market. Traders expect copper inventories at Shanghai bonded warehouses were between 850,000-870,000 mt in early March, 910,000 mt in late February, and 1 million mt in late January. Copper stocks in April are expected to drop further.
29% Copper Wire Rod Producers Pessimistic towards Copper Prices
A recent SMM survey of 21 domestic copper wire rod producers reveals that 29% copper wire rod producers expect copper prices to keep falling along with rising LME copper inventories and weaker-than-expected economic data in major economies, raising market doubts over the economic recovery. Besides, the increases of positions slowed while copper prices were dropping, and short positions kept growing according to the CFTC report, boding bad for copper prices.
LME Cancelled Warrants Keep Rising
On April 8, LME global copper inventories were down 200 mt to 579,400 mt, the first decline since February 13. The same day, copper cancelled warrants rose to 147,300 mt, bringing the proportion of cancelled warrants up to 25.43%. Demand outlook for Europe, China and the US is not strong enough to support copper consumption.
China to Phase Out Inefficient Copper, Aluminum, Zinc, Lead Capacity Totaling 1.96 Million Mt in 2013
According to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the elimination plan of inefficient capacity of the non-ferrous metals industry includes 665,000 mt of copper, 273,000 mt of aluminum, 879,000 mt of lead, and 143,000 mt of zinc. Besides, a total number of 14.2 million kvah of lead-acid battery polar plate and 10.67 million kvah battery assembling will be also eliminated in 2013.