SHANGHAI, Mar 13 (SMM) – Seasonal factors significantly impacted February's operation of domestic producers of copper plate, strip, and foil from January, but on a yearly basis, operating rates only dipped, supported by the electronic and new-energy vehicle (NEV) markets.
Operating rates across those producers stood at 46.91% in February, down 19.76 percentage points from January. Compared to February 2018, the rate edged down 0.25 percentage point last month, after it slid by nearly 10 percentage points year on year in January.
In February, producers reported robust orders from the downstream power, electronic, and NEV sectors, SMM learned.
The ratio of raw materials inventory to output at producers stood at 25.06% in February, up 6.23 percentage points from January, as CNY closures cut output in February.
For March, SMM expects operating rates across plants of copper plate, strip, and foil to rebound by 25.38 percentage points from February, to 72.29%, as producers return from holidays. However, slower recovery of downstream demand and overall weakness in the domestic economy will cap actual gains in the rates.
SMM surveyed 21 domestic producers of copper plate, strip, and foil in February, with capacity of 1.27 million mt.