SHANGHAI, Jul. 23 (SMM) – Both base and precious metals closed higher on Monday, with the most active SHFE copper contract price rising 0.82%, leading the rally of base metals. Silver and gold also increased 2.38% and 2.5%, respectively.
Premiums for spot copper were between RMB 180-400/mt on Monday, and traded prices for standard-quality and high-quality copper were RMB 50,750-50,920/mt and RMB 50,920-51,150/mt, respectively. Holders of spot copper raised continued to raise premiums for spot copper, but downstream buyers considered the prices unacceptable, leaving trading quiet.
China imported 277,700 mt of refined copper in June, according to China Customs, its highest this year, and up 11% YoY. Imports through the first half of the year totaled 1.369 million mt, down 27.22% YoY. SMM expects China’s copper imports to keep rising.
China’s scrap copper imports fell 8.73% in June to 336,800 mt, and totaled 2.065 million mt during the first six months, down 7.2% from a year ago. June’s primary aluminum imports fell 53.5% YoY to 18,000 mt, while scrap aluminum imports during the month slipped 11.42% YoY to 182,900 mt. Alumina imports in June were 91,000 mt, down 70.26% from a year earlier.
SHFE reported its copper inventories fell another 947 mt to 168,376 mt on July 19, a low never seen since October 2012, according to SMM statistics. The decline in SHFE copper inventories has accelerated this month.
After a period of destocking, Chinese copper inventories are low at the moment and the scope for some restocking may support copper prices in 2H, said Merrill Lynch. However, the rising supply will limit the price increase. The bank forecasts copper at USD 7,350/mt in the third quarter.