SHANGHAI, Jul. 16 (SMM) –
According to China Customs, China imported 340,000 mt of scrap copper in June, down 22,000 mt or 6.17% MoM, and down 7.9% YoY. YTD imports through June were 2.07 million mt, down 7.2% YoY. Recent copper price declines reduced market demand for scrap since some buyers purchased refined copper instead. Volatile prices also turned importers cautious, however. In addition, imports of motors were also down due to price declines and hotter temperatures. All of these factors contributed to the decline in scrap copper imports during June. SMM expects imports will remain generally stable during July, with import volumes between 330,000-360,000 mt. The impact from recent strict inspections by China Customs is waning, but supply tightness in the international market and rising demand from India and other countries will restrict goods available to China.
Unwrought Copper and Copper Semis
China imported 380,000 mt of unwrought copper and copper semis during June, up 5.9% MoM and 9.7% YoY, and the first positive year-on-year growth for the past nine months. Since imports volumes were high during the early months of 2012, but fell gradually as the year progressed, imports during the remainder of 2013 may still allow for positive monthly import growth on a yearly basis. There have been some significant changes in imports during 2013, however. In 2012, refined copper imports accounted for 73% of total imports, but this proportion fell below 67% for the first five months of 2013, and was down to 65% for April and May. Imports of anode copper grew instead as supply shortages of scrap copper stimulated its use as a substitute. During June, imports of refined copper should be around 250,000 mt. The growth of imports will be based largely on the arrival of delayed goods due to the port strike in Chile and a more positive ratio. In addition, tight liquidity encouraged demand for imports using L/Cs, which also added to the higher imports in June.