SHANGHAI, May 30 (SMM) – Copper cathode supply across China is expected to expand in June as smelters will recover from maintenance, which is set to weigh on fundamentals against the backdrop of slow consumption recovery.
The latest SMM survey showed that planned maintenance across Chinese copper smelters is expected to affect production by 230,000 mt throughout this year, almost as much as last year.
Most maintenance works will occur in the second quarter of the year, and about 150,000 mt of production would be impacted, accounting for over 65%. April saw some 50,000 mt of copper cathode output affected, with 70,000 mt likely in May and 30,000 mt in June.
On a yearly basis, China’s output of copper cathode declined 4.2% in May and is expected to fall 14.6% in May.
May saw the greatest impact, with 11 smelters including Shandong Humon, Dongying Fangyuan, Yuguang Gold & Lead and Yanggu Xiangguang, conducting maintenance.
Recovery from maintenance is expected to bolster copper cathode output by about 30,000 mt in June.
New capacity is also likely to help expand output. SMM data showed that copper refining capacity in China is expected to grow 1.04 million mt in 2019, which is estimated to boost output by 500,000-600,000 mt. Most new capacity is scheduled to come online in the second half of the year.