SHANGHAI, Jun. 25 (SMM) – China imported 283,000 tonnes of refined copper in May, Customs data show, virtually in line with the 280,000 tonnes expected by SMM.
China Customs indicate copper imports fell 58,000 tonnes, or 17.12%, on the month in May, while import volume through the first five months posted a 48.84% year-on-year rise to 1.63 million tonnes.
Marked declines in copper imports from Chile and Europe were responsible for May's lower import volume.
Shipments from Chile returned to normal from April’s high to 109,000 tonnes, a decline of 31,000 tonnes, and basically on par with the January-April average of 110,000 tonnes.
Exports from Europe to China fell further in May with consumption in local markets picking up. China only imported 24,000 tonnes of copper from Poland, Belgium, Germany, and Bulgaria during May, down 16,000 tonnes from April, and 38,000 tonnes lower than March’s volume.
As some bank suspended financing collateralized by warehouse warrants in the wake of Qingdao’s probe into metal financing scam, China’s copper imports are expected to fall in the second half of the year, but June’s imports may hold steady following the noticeable decline in May.
As notable, China exported 5,000 tonnes of copper to Holland, which was rarely seen since records began as China seldom exports the red metal to Europe. SMM believes this may be a prelude to a change in global copper inventory distribution.