SHANGHAI, Jun. 24 (SMM) -
Unwrought Copper and Copper Semis
China Customs data shows unwrought copper and copper semis imports to China during May were 358,800 mt, the highest level for the year to date. The increase was due to higher imports in late May which had been delayed by a labor strike in Chile. However, since some Indian smelters remain closed, and since Chinese smelters increased anode copper imports due to scrap copper tightness, refined copper imports for May should be around 235,000 mt. Copper imports should remain high in early June due to delayed shipments from Chile, which will continue to affect deliveries throughout June and result in a high monthly import total.
According to China Customs, China imported 360,000 mt of scrap copper in May, up 23,000 mt or 6.94% MoM, but down 15.07% YoY. YTD imports through May were 1.73 million mt, down 4.65% YoY. The increase in imports on a monthly basis was largely due to receding of market panic over stricter customs regulations and the onset of a peak demand season from March and April. The 4.65% YoY drop in imports reflected foreign suppliers lack of interest in China due to low prices compared with other countries. In addition, the price difference between refined and scrap copper gave no incentives for importers since no profits were available. During June, scrap copper imports are expected to be between 340,000-380,000 mt, but will still be down on a YoY basis.