SHANGHAI, Jul 30 (SMM) – Higher grades grew China's copper scrap imports by some 106,200 mt, in Cu content, on the year in January-June, which avoided a domestic shortage while restrictions and a ban lowered imports in physical volumes, SMM assessed based on customs data.
The latest SMM calculation showed that China imported 186,900 mt, in physical volume, of copper scrap in June, down 16.82% from a year ago. With an average grade of 80.42%, the imports translated to 150,300 mt in Cu content, up close to 40,000 mt, or 35.7% from June 2018.
In the first half of this year, imports of copper scrap amounted to 921,300 mt in physical content, or 731,900 mt in metal volume given a grade of 79.43%, standing 106,200 mt higher in Cu content than January-June of 2018.
The ban on imports of Category Seven materials that began at the start of this year, and the rush to import higher-grade Category Six materials before July, accounted for the rally in Cu content imports.
For the third quarter, SMM expects import quotas for Category Six copper scrap will continue to offset the supply shortfall caused by the import ban on Category Seven materials.
China's environment ministry on Wednesday July 10 granted 124,450 mt of quotas for imports of Category Six copper, the second batch of approval after the restrictions. The first batch of quotas allowed the import of 240,429 mt of copper scrap.