SHANGHAI, Nov. 20 (SMM) – Operating rates at the copper tube/pipe producers in SMM’s survey sample averaged 72.30% in October, down 3.07 percentage points from September and 1.15 percentage points from a year ago.
Fewer working days due to the weeklong Chinese National Day holiday cut operating rates at these producers.
Poor air conditioner sales dampened copper tube/pipe demand as well. The cooler-than-usual summer and this year’s downturn in the housing market cut into air conditioner demand. Data from the ChinaIOL show China produced 7.94 million air conditioners in September, up only 0.91% YoY, while sales slipped 0.08% from a year earlier to 8.16 million units, with domestic sales down 0.17% to 5.78 million units. Air conditioner inventories spiked 35.14% to 6.63 million units.
The return to a normal number of working days in November will push the average operating rate back up to 76.31%, but limited demand prevents any more appreciable rises.
SMM surveyed 20 copper tube/pipe producers with their combined capacity hitting 1.5 million tpy.