SHANGHAI, Jul 2 (SMM) – China’s copper concentrate imports fell sharply in May as COVID-19 lockdown restrictions ex-China introduced in late March began to take their toll.
China imported 1.69 million mt of copper ore and concentrate in May, down 338,000 mt from April and 152,000 mt from May 2019, according to data from China customs compiled by SMM.
About 54% of those imports were from South America’s Chile and Peru, and the ratio marked a sharp decrease from over 70% for the year of 2019 as Peru imposed stringent measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus after the country entered a state of emergency in the middle of March.
In May, 300,000 mt of Peruvian copper ore and concentrate was imported to China, down 35.7% month on month and 53.4% year on year.
Given the delivery time, China’s imports of copper ore and concentrate are likely to continue to fall in June and July. An SMM survey showed that a number of Chinese smelters conducted or plan to conduct maintenance in the two months due to tight raw material supply.
SMM expects China’s copper ore and concentrate imports to fall to 1.5-1.6 million mt for the month of June.