Chinese Copper Smelters Scale Back Exports

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China’s smelters have cut exports of spot refined copper over the past week to sell more in the domestic market where prices have risen, easing a supply shortage in the world’s top consumer of the metal, Reuters reported.

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Reflecting the easier availability, premiums copper buyers in China pay on top of the Shanghai Futures Exchange front-month contract to secure physical metal have halved to around 500-600 CNY ($80.28-$96.34) per ton this week from more than 1,000 CNY in April, traders and sources at smelters said.

With a decline of 0.8 percent to CNY 49,800 ($7,985) per metric ton on Thursday, May 8, Chinese copper bar recorded the biggest price drift of the day. The cash price of Chinese copper fell 0.8 percent to CNY 50,000 ($8,017) per metric ton. The price of Chinese copper wire remained essentially flat at CNY 49,690 ($7,967) per metric ton. The price of Chinese bright copper scrap continues hovering around CNY 44,300 ($7,103) per metric ton for the fifth day in a row.

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The price of US copper producer grade 122 saw a 0.5 percent decline to $3.75 per pound. The price of US copper producer grade 110 declined 0.5 percent to $3.75 per pound. The price of US copper producer grade 102 weakened by 0.5 percent, settling at $3.94 per pound. The cash price of primary Japanese copper increased 0.4 percent to JPY 714,000 ($7,009) per metric ton.

The 3-month price of copper held steady yesterday on the LME, remaining around $6,699 per metric ton. Also on the LME, the primary copper cash price showed little movement on Thursday, hovering around $6,739 per metric ton.

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