China Copper Dec. Imports Down; LME 3-Month Copper Shifts Up

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December was not a good month for China’s copper imports, which “fell 6.6 percent in December on the month due to weak demand from plants which reduced purchases of metal at the end of the year due to low cash flows, but inflows increased 14.1 percent in 2012 from 2011 thanks to strong term bookings,” reports Reuters.

“China, the world’s top copper consumer, received 341,211 tonnes of anode, refined metal, alloy and semi-finished copper products imports in December 2012, the second-lowest monthly inflows of 2012 and down from 365,331 tonnes in the previous month, customs data showed on Thursday.”

“The arrivals dropped 33 percent from a record 508,942 tonnes seen in the same month in 2011.”

In metal price news for copper…

At $7,355 per metric ton, the 3-month price of copper moved up 0.9 percent on Thursday, January 9, making it the day’s biggest mover on the LME. At $7,367, the cash price of primary copper finished the market day on the LME up 0.7 percent per metric ton.

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The Japanese copper cash price rose 0.6 percent. The price of US copper producer grade 122 closed Thursday, halting its two-day flat run with a 0.2 percent decline. The price of US copper producer grade 110 dropped by 0.2 percent after holding steady. Thursday saw the price of US copper producer grade 102 drift down 0.2 percent after a couple of stagnant days.

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Chinese copper prices were mixed for the day. Following a couple days of improvement, Chinese copper bar’s price weakened by 0.4 percent. The cash price of Chinese copper changed direction with a 0.4 percent drop. After two days of improving prices, the metal finished. The price of Chinese copper wire remained steady. Chinese bright copper scrap stayed flat.