SHANGHAI, Apr. 9 (SMM) – Average operating rate at China’s copper wire rod producers rose by 16.92% on the month to 72.47% in March due to improving consumption, the latest SMM survey showed.
The rate, however, was still 1.14% lower from the same period a year ago, according to the SMM survey of 22 copper wire rod producers with total capacity at 4.34 million tpy.
Some downstream buyers increased copper wire rod purchases after copper prices fell to around 45,000 yuan per tonne during March, driving up operating rates at producers. The narrowing price gap between scrap and refined copper, as well as low selling interest at scrap copper suppliers resulting from falling prices, gave a boost to refined copper demand from wire rod makers.
With copper prices rebounding to 47,000 yuan per tonne in early April, some copper wire rod makers were worried that orders might fall this month and that downstream buyers would refrain from purchasing in large amounts. Thus, SMM believed the average operating rate at copper wire rod producers would only rise to around 73.49% in April.