SHANGHAI, Nov. 27 (SMM) – 71% of major copper pipe/tube producers in China believed orders would remain stable in November and 38% of them were cautious towards copper price outlook, a Shanghai Metals Market survey showed.
Among the 21 copper pipe/tube producers surveyed by SMM, 71% expected stable orders in November, noting that refrigeration pipe consumption showed no sharp decline in traditional low demand season, presaging slim chance of strong rebound following the offseason.
Capacity expansion left air conditioner manufacturers in no hurry to produce prior to the boom season, curtailing copper pipe purchases ahead of the peak demand season. Besides, most air conditioner producers showed no strong interest in restocking after the depletion of finished product stocks, and produced only according to sales. Thus, their demand for copper pipe/tube would remain largely unchanged in November.
19% of the surveyed producers predicted orders to improve in November, saying that demand from air conditioner manufacturers would grow due to increasing number of working days compared with October.
The rest 10% of producers expected orders to fall in November. These respondents believed that many copper processors might refrain from buying copper when copper prices were on the way down, undermining their ability to fulfill orders.
With respect to price outlook, 38% of producers expected LME copper to hover at $7,000 per tonne. On one hand, any rally in copper prices would be curbed by bearish mood. On the other, demand from project bids and dip buying would limit any price decline should LME copper fall below $7,000 a tonne. This would trap copper prices in the current range.
Another 38% of producers were more pessimistic, expecting LME copper prices to fall to $6,800 per tonne. Now that copper prices have staged sharp a decline after three months of consolidation, these producers held that further falls were likely before market risks dissipate. That, combined with liquidity crunch and waning consumption by the end of the year, as well as rising supplies of both domestic and imported copper, would push prices down.
The remaining 24% of producers saw no clear trends for copper prices.