Driven by an extraordinary construction boom, China, the world’s top copper consumer, more than doubled copper imports in February; the highest level since 2005.
Author: Dorothy Kosich — Posted: Monday, 26 Mar 2007
According to data from China's Customs Office, imports of refined copper and alloys increased 167% to 152,651 metric tons in February compared to a year ago. Bloomberg estimated that China's February copper consumption was 356,763 tons.
Customs data revealed that imports of copper concentrates increased 35% to 392,366 tons last month as refined copper production was limited by copper concentrate shortages.
China's copper stockpiles increased 70% to 40,886 tons in February, according to the Shanghai Futures Exchange. Meanwhile, copper inventories at the London Metal Exchange have declined for five consecutive weeks.
The World Bureau of Metal Statistics stated that China's copper demand increased to 387,000 tons in January 2007, up from 288,000 tons a year ago.
Shanghai's Star Futures trader Li Ling told the Shanghai Daily that, "Chinese demand for imports is showing no sign of flagging. As it's entering a peak consumption period, some processors increased purchases."
In an interview with Bloomberg, Codelco Executive President Pablo Arellano said copper demand will continue to rise through next year because of "unimaginable" new construction in China. "They are building cities at an unimaginable rate," he said. "Urbanization in general demands a lot of copper. China is going precisely through that stage of development.”