China’s copper scrap imports fell to the lowest in 10 years, tightening supply for smelters and signaling refined imports of the metal will continue to rise.
Bloomberg reported that total inbound shipments dropped 11% to 3.9 million metric tons last year, the lowest volume since 2004, according to General Administration of Customs data released Friday. December imports rose for first time in 3 months to 366,534 tons.
China’s purchases of refined copper from overseas climbed last year amid dwindling supplies of scrap, the feedstock for about one-third of China’s copper production Ian Roper, a commodity strategist at CLSA, told Bloomberg.
Closing at CNY 33,600 ($5,383) per metric ton on Wednesday, January 28, Chinese bright copper scrap saw the biggest change at a 4.8%. The price of Chinese copper wire reached a 30-day low after decreasing 1.5% to CNY 40,080 ($6,422) per metric ton. After falling 1.3% to CNY 41,000 ($6,569) per metric ton, the price of Chinese copper bar reached a 30-day low. Chinese primary cash copper saw its price drop 1.3% to a 30-day low of CNY 41,200 ($6,601) per metric ton on Wednesday.
The Japanese copper cash price gained 2.1% to finish at JPY 694,000 ($5,892) per metric ton. The price of US copper producer grade 122 fell to a 30-day low at $3.22 per pound after shifting 1.8%. US copper producer grade 110 saw its price drop 1.8% to a 30-day low of $3.22 per pound on Wednesday. After falling 1.7% to $3.41 per pound, the price of US copper producer grade 102 reached a 30-day low.
After falling for two days, the 3-month price of copper rose 1.3% on the LME to $5,521 per metric ton. The primary copper cash price is back up, rising by 1.2% on the LME yesterday to close at $5,555 per metric ton.