SHANGHAI, Jun 9 (SMM) — SMM data showed that China’s copper cathode output stood at 850,100 mt in May, down 3.1% month on month, but up 9.5% year on year.
Plants entered the peak season for maintenance in May, and the decrease in copper cathode output mainly came from Xiangguang, Jinlong, and China Copper. Some smelters including Chifeng Jinjian Copper and Tongling Jinguan conducted maintenance in May, but the actual output did not decrease as the TCs for blister copper remained high, and they purchased large amounts of blister copper and anode plates. Some plants even saw an increase in output. Copper concentrate imports declined slightly but still stood high in April. TCs bottomed out, and sulphuric acid prices remained high amid strong downstream demand, bringing profits to the smelters, and operating rates stood high. In addition, due to the long-term loss of imports, it is difficult for the market to find sufficient imported goods, and the copper concentrate inventories at smelters continued to decrease.
Judging from the June production schedule, the maintenance of Xiangguang, Jinlong, and China Copper will continue to affect the monthly output, and the impact of China Copper will be expanded. SMM predicts that domestic copper cathode output in June will be 831,400 mt, a decrease of 2.2% month on month and but up 9.5% year on year. SMM estimates output to total 5.04 million mt from January to June, a year-on-year increase of 13.6%.
SMM adjusted the refining capacity of the smelter samples this month, the annual refining capacity was lifted in Fujian Zijin from 320,000 mt to 400,000 mt, in Jiangxi Zili and Lanxi Zili from 160,000 mt to 230,000 mt, in Jinchuan Group from 800,000 mt to 970,000 mt. The capacity of Jiangtong Hongyuan at 100,000 mt/year was added. The total capacity surveyed by SMM increased to 11.16 million mt.