SHANGHAI, Apr. 16 (SMM) – Operating rates at Chinese copper tube/pipe producers averaged 87.57% in March, up 13.13% from February and 2.03% higher than a year ago, SMM’s latest survey of 21 producers showed.
Household air conditioner manufacturers stockpiled raw materials in March in preparation for the arrival of the peak demand month of May, boosting demand for refrigeration pipes.
Average copper price in physical markets fell by nearly 4,000 yuan per tonne in March, which also encouraged air conditioner manufacturers to increase purchase volumes.
Exports of copper tube/pipe were also strong after LME copper prices fell to $6,600 per tonne and since the high demand season in overseas markets was also beginning. Most enterprises surveyed by SMM said orders on hand would not be completed until mid-May, so average operating rate at these producers was expected to remain high at around 87.65% in April.