With ample copper supplies and an expected seasonal decrease in demand for the next two months, China’s copper imports fell in May for the second month in a row by 9.1% month-on-month and 6.1% year-on-year, to 396,712 tons. Demand now is forecast to rebound in August.
During the first five month of this year, Chinese copper imports grew 8.2% year-on-year to 1.9 million ton. Scrap copper imports rose 15% to 1.68 million tons during the same period.
Although on the Shanghai Futures Exchange copper stockpiles decreased 17% in May to 157,698 tons, they are still 60% higher than at the beginning of this year.
As the European debt crisis causes a slowdown in the international recovery from the recession, copper at the London Metal Exchange fell on June 7th to US$ 6,037.50 per ton, the lowest level since October 2009.
Officials from the Chinese Bohai Futures Company consider that copper imports are high in absolute terms despite the recent drop, causing downward pressure on prices. Chinese demand has been enough to boost Chilean copper exports in May, representing a 30% year-on-year increase in revenues to US$ 2.76 billion for Chile, but a 12.6% drop compared to April as a result of copper prices decreases.
Copper in China is used to make power cables, electrical wire and pipes for construction and manufacturing.