SHANGHAI, Nov 27 (SMM) – While China’s imports of copper scrap in January-October stood 34% lower than the same period last year, the average copper content of copper scrap imports climbed to some 56% from 37-38% in 2017, showed data from China Customs.
The divergence in physical and metal content could attributed to the authorities’ tightened grips over Category Seven scrap imports. In late 2017, China said that it will ban imports of Category Seven scrap, including scrap electric wire and cable, scrap motor and bulk scrap hardware, from the end of 2018.
SMM also learned that the government is mulling banning Category Six scrap imports from 2020. Customs data showed that Category Six materials accounted for about 85% of overall copper scrap imports in October. Copper cathode consumption is set to receive a boost if China forbids Category Six scrap imports.
In the second half of the year, China’s copper scrap imports saw the proportion from the US falling sharply as Beijing hit copper scrap imports from the US with a 25% duty from August 23 amid its ongoing trade dispute with Washington.
Copper scrap imports from the US accounted for only 2.6% in October, compared to 22.3% in January.
Meanwhile, volumes from Japan, Hong Kong and Malaysia took up more shares. Copper scrap imports from Japan accounted for 23.33% in October, compared with 7.73% in March, and those from Malaysia accounted for 7.09% last month, compared with 0.3% in March. In March, volumes from Hong Kong accounted for 24.86%, the highest in six months.
Importers chose trans-shipments to avoid the duty and this boosted the volumes from those nearby region and countries.