SHANGHAI, May 15 (SMM) – The average operating rate across Chinese manufacturers of copper sheet/plate, strip and foil dipped 2.29 percentage points from March to stand at 73.16% in April, showed an SMM survey.
The rate stood 7.53 percentage points lower than April 2018, as consumption remained sluggish since the second quarter last year, even several manufacturers reported stable or improved consumption.
Data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) showed that auto sales in China dropped 14.6% year on year in April and 12.1% year on year in January-April.
Demand for high-precision copper sheet/plate and strip, which are used in electronics and integrated circuits, was relatively better, compared to consumption of brass products, which are used in electric appliances.
Cash flow issues also prompted some producers to cut production.
The ratio of inventories of raw materials to monthly output at those copper sheet/plate, strip and foil producers came in at 17.77% for April, up 0.04 percentage point from March. Raw materials stocks held stable as continued slack consumption and recent volatility in copper prices kept producers cautious about procurement.
SMM survey also showed that the average operating rate across copper sheet/plate, strip and foil producers is estimated to inch up 0.31 percentage point month on month to stand at 73.47% in May.
Consumption of copper sheet/plate and strip will enter a seasonal lull after May, and US-Sino trade tension will further impact exports of electronic products and electric appliances.
SMM surveyed 21 manufacturers of copper sheet/plate, strip and foil, with capacity totalling 1.27 million mt.