SHANGHAI, Jul. 2 (SMM) –
China's refined copper apparent consumption in May was 784,800 mt, up 14.8% YoY and 10.36% MoM. During May, output and imports of refined copper were both up, but exports were down sharply to a yearly low of 14,400 mt. The SHFE/LME copper price ratio continued to improve during May, encouraging imports from bonded areas and reducing deliveries to LME Asian warehouses. The increases in apparent consumption of refined copper did not result in rising copper inventories, however, since stocks both at bonded areas and SHFE were down, a reflection that real consumption was better that apparent consumption during May.
Copper semis apparent consumption was 1.24 million mt in May, up 23.67% YoY and 5.1% MoM. During May, domestic copper semis output climbed above 1.2 million mt and imports reached up to 63,500 mt, the highest single monthly import volume since April 2012. The significant increase in imported copper semis was driven by improvements in the price ratio and rising downstream demand. A recent SMM survey of major domestic copper semis producers revealed an average operating rate of 76.36% during May, the highest monthly average of the year. However, since operating rates at copper tube/pipe, plate, sheet, strip and foil producers were down in June, apparent consumption of copper semis should fall from May’s high level.