According to the latest customs data, imports of copper concentrate in March 2020 totaled 1.779 million tons (tons in kind), an increase of 12000 tons (tons in kind) from March 2019, an increase of 0.68 percent. In the first quarter of 2020, copper concentrate imports totaled 5.547 million tons (tons in kind), down 0.73 percent from the same period last year.
According to different countries, 525700 tons of copper concentrate were imported from Chile in March, accounting for 29.6% of the total copper concentrate import in March, ranking first, but there was a decreasing trend compared with February. Imports from Peru totaled 397900 tons, accounting for 22.4% of the total copper concentrate imports in March, down 26.15% from 538800 tons in February. It is expected that imports from South America will continue to be affected in the second quarter as the epidemic affects shipments. 104700 tons of copper concentrate were imported from Australia, which is close to the sum of copper concentrate imported from Australia from January to February, accounting for 5.9% of the total copper concentrate import in March, ranking third.
SMM believes that imports of copper concentrate fell month-on-month in March, but increased slightly year-on-year for the following reasons:
First, due to the impact of the epidemic on domestic smelting activities in February, there is uncertainty about future production expectations, and some refineries have chosen to postpone the shipping date and reduce the volume of purchases in recent months, taking into account that the reduction in the logistics cycle of imported copper concentrate began to appear in March. as a result, the month-on-month ratio decreased to a certain extent.
Second, compared with the same period last year, some of the domestic new refining capacity, the demand for copper concentrate has increased, so imports affected by the epidemic fell month-on-month after roughly the same as the same period last year.
In addition, imports of copper concentrates from Australia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia and other countries have increased significantly, mainly due to overseas epidemic fermentation after entering March, especially in South American countries. After the gradual resumption of production activities, domestic refineries have increased the procurement of near-ocean copper concentrates for reserves, and these countries of origin have a relatively short logistics cycle and can usually be transported to China within three weeks after purchase. As a result, there was a significant increase in imports in March.
In April, the impact of mine shipping difficulties in South America will gradually appear. It is expected that copper concentrate imports from Chile and Peru will still be significantly reduced, and copper concentrate imports from neighboring countries in Asia and Australia will partially make up for the losses. however, due to the relatively high proportion of copper concentrate imports from Chile and Peru, copper concentrate imports are expected to continue to decline in April compared with the previous month.
Taken together, SMM expects imports of copper concentrate in April to be around 1.6 million physical tons.
(SMM Chen Weixuan)