SHANGHAI, Jan 4 (SMM)—China imported 1.83 million mt of copper ore and concentrate (hereinafter referred to as copper concentrate) in November 2020, a month-on-month increase of 8.3% and a year-on-year decrease of 15%, according to China Customs. For January-November, China’s copper concentrate imports totalled 19.9 million mt, down 0.96% year on year. The import volume of copper concentrate from Peru increased as copper mines recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic. In October, Peru’s domestic copper production returned to normal levels. Imports of copper concentrate from Australia and the US have declined significantly.
According to customs data, 88,900 mt of copper concentrate was imported from the US in September 2020, and imports in October stood at 20,100 mt. Imports in November dropped further to 10,300 mt. Imports from the US are not compared on a year-on-year basis due to a 25% tariff in the same period of 2019. However, copper concentrate imports from the US fell to low levels after rising to a high level in September despite the tax exemption by China Customs. US copper concentrate inventory at traders has declined after being destocked in September, reducing supply. Meanwhile, importers will need to apply for Customs approvals for each batch of imports under bill of lading, which has increased operational risks.
In October 2020, China imported 40,500 mt of copper concentrate from Australia, down 54.2% month-on-month and 34.5% year-on-year; China imported 26,700 mt of copper concentrate from Australia in November 2020, down 34.0% month-on-month and 77.8% year-on-year. Importers reduced copper concentrate imports from Australia sharply due to concerns over a ban on copper concentrate imports from Australia in early November amid China-Australia tensions.
According to customs data, copper concentrate imports from Australia accounted for around 4% of the total imports in 2019. Copper concentrate shipments from Australia to China were mainly produced in Sandfire, Cobar, Prominent Hill, Nova, MT ISA and Capricorn.
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