SHANGHAI, Oct. 13 (SMM) – China’s imports of unwrought copper and copper products reached the lowest level since February 2015 in September, China Customs data show.
According to China Customs, China imported 340,000 tonnes of unwrought copper and copper products in September, down 2.86% month-on-month, and 26.09% year-on-year.
The drop in September’s imports is not because of weak demand in China, and China’s copper consumption was moderate in September, SMM survey finds.
“The decline is due mainly to the closing of import window for most of September, and meanwhile, some of imported goods flew into LME warehouses, brining up inventories by nearly 70,000 tonnes by late September,” SMM copper analyst says.
Moreover, foreign copper smelters have started holding back goods, so as to gain a favorable position in the upcoming terms negotiations in November, SMM adds, another factor behind falling imports.
China’s imports of unwrought copper and copper products have been falling since May, but imports from January to September were 3.78 million tonnes, up 11.21% year-on-year, according to China Customs.
The year-on-year growth is thanks to large imports during the first half of 2016, SMM explains, and this is opposite to conditions in 2015, which changed from low to high as the year progressed.
SMM expects falling imports and better-than-expected demand in China to reduce copper inventories on the SHFE. As of late September, SHFE copper inventories fell to 107,058 tonnes, nearing to the multi-year low of around 70,000 tonnes.
If SHFE copper inventories continue falling, imported copper will again flow into China’s domestic market. SMM expects China’s copper imports to stay at a relatively low level for the foreseeable future.
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