SHANGHAI, Jun. 24 (SMM) -
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), China’s refined copper output during May was 567,000 mt, up 1.61% MoM and a high for the year. SMM’s survey also found that the average operating rate at surveyed copper smelters during May was 89.46%, virtually unchanged from April. China imported 360,000 mt of scrap copper during May, down 15.07% YoY, but up 6.94% MoM. Long-term scrap copper supply to large domestic copper smelters using scrap copper as raw materials was stable, but spot scrap copper supply was tight due to the narrowing price spread between scrap copper and refined copper. During May, spot TC/RC was USD 70-80/mt (cents 7.0-8.0/lbs), which encouraged smelters to run at high operating rates and kept refined copper output high.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), China’s copper semis output during May was 1.22 million mt, up 4.7% MoM and 20.0% YoY. Demand for copper rod from enameled wire and electric wire and cable producers remained strong, and operating rates at copper tube/pipe producers remained high as well, but copper plate, sheet, strip and foil producers were beginning a seasonal low-demand period. SMM’s latest survey found the average operating rate at the surveyed producers rose in May to 76.36%.
Orders for copper tube/pipe, copper plate, sheet, strip and foil all fell in June due to the onset of the low demand season. The average operating rate at copper semis producers is expected to fall by 2.75% MoM during June, to 73.61%, so copper semis output will also drop.