SMM9: according to data released by the General Administration of Customs today, China's imports of unwrought copper and copper products from January to August totaled 4.272 million tons, an increase of 38.1 percent over the same period last year. Imports of unwrought copper and copper products totaled 668000 tons in August, up 67.1% from a year earlier and down 12.3% from a month earlier.
The import window has been closed since mid-June and demand for imported copper has weakened significantly. As overseas copper demand gradually recovers, while domestic consumption weakens month-on-month, overseas inventories decline, the proportion of written-off warehouse receipts remains high, LME spot prices gradually strengthen, and the outer disk basically maintains the back structure after July.
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While the domestic copper price is slightly passive, the external strong and internal weak pattern of copper price makes the price ratio closed for a long time, and the demand for imported copper is light. Yangshan copper premium has also been falling, as of September 7, the average price of warehouse receipts fell to $65 / ton, and the average price of bill of lading fell to $53 / ton, a far cry from the May and June highs and much lower than the long order price. Traders reduced zero-order trading, and the liquidity of the entire foreign trade copper market fell to a low, so the quantity of unwrought copper and copper products decreased month-on-month in August.
Domestic consumption is currently sluggish in the peak season. According to SMM research data, the operating rate of refined copper rod enterprises in August was 72.66%, down 3.50% from the previous month, and 2.79% lower than the same period last year. After the operating rate hit an all-time high in April, the operating rate of refined copper bar enterprises declined for the fourth consecutive month in August, with negative growth compared with the same period last year. It is estimated that the operating rate of 9 fine copper rod enterprises will be 71.64%, a decrease of 1.02 percentage points from the previous month, and 5.16 percentage points lower than the same period last year. The inventory pressure of finished products in the copper rod factory increased in August, and the order expectation was pessimistic. The enterprise still has a stop-production and maintenance plan in September, and the operating rate in September is expected to continue to decline slightly from the previous month. The copper market is obviously sluggish in peak season.
[SMM Analysis] weak orders, high inventory and high operating rate of refined copper rods are expected to continue to decline in September.
The weakness of domestic copper consumption will continue to be reflected in the reduction of copper imports of electrolytic copper. Domestic copper consumption has not yet come out of the off-season in September, while domestic electrolytic copper production rebounded, superimposed price losses, and refined copper imports are expected to decrease month-on-month in September.
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