SHANGHAI, Jan 9 (SMM) – China's environmental authorities on Wednesday issued the second batch of copper scrap import quotas for 2020, further assuaging fears of a supply shortage before imports of “solid waste” are completely banned by the end of the year.
The China Solid Waste and Chemicals Management Bureau, a unit of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, granted import allowances for 26,566 mt of high-grade copper scrap in the second batch of quotas for this year, compared to 270,885 mt in the first batch.
Allowances in the two batches amounted to 297,451 mt. This is estimated to contain 229,961 mt of copper, with a Cu content of 80%, the average grade for imported volume in 2019.
In the first quarter of 2019, China imported 365,000 mt of copper scrap, translating to about 280,000 mt of Cu content.
Worries about copper scrap supply among Chinese scrap users have abated as import quotas for the first quarter have been issued early and are ample enough to avoid disruptions to operations.
The imminent introduction of the standards on recyclable copper raw materials, which will exempt high-purity copper scrap from the licensed quota-based import system, is also expected to help ease supply tightness. These standards are likely to come into force in the second quarter at the latest, and the MEE said in December that it has completed the review over these standards.
Besides, Chinese copper recyclers have been switching to alternative feeds such as remelt ingot. Customs data showed that China’s imports of remelt copper ingot surged in the second half of 2019.