SHANGHAI, Jun. 9 (SMM) – China imported 309,400 mt of scrap copper in April, up 20,000 mt from March, but still below the 2014 average. January-April import volumes fell 8.56% to 1.09 million mt.
Although the price gap between scrap and refined copper widened to exceed RMB 1,000/mt at one point, Chinese companies remained little interested in importing scrap at the high prices on offer from foreign scrap yards. Moreover, inclement weather in the US in Q1 reduced the available supply of scrap as well as creating transport delays, further cutting into China-bound shipments.
Flush copper concentrate supplies and higher processing charges on blister have caused many smelters to reduce the ratio of scrap in their input mix.
A decline in SHFE/LME copper price ratio in May dampened imports, but it remains possible that mounting supplies overseas and an improvement in Chinese demand may see import volumes recover to 330,000 mt.