By Siyi Liu and Dominique Patton
China imported 26% more copper in August than a year earlier, customs data on Wednesday showed, as lowered prices and stocks amid power rationing enhanced the appetite for foreign supply.
Unwrought copper and copper product imports into China – including anode, refined, alloy and semi-finished copper products – totalled 498,188.60 tonnes in August. That compared with the year-earlier volume of 394,017.10 tonnes, a two-year low.
The annual increase was attributed to cheaper prices in July and August that sparked buying interests among producers.
Three-month copper prices on the London Metal Exchange closed at $7,801.50 a tonne on the last trading day of August, up 8.5% from a 20-month low hit on July 15 but still down 19.7% from the beginning of this year.
“Lower copper prices in July and August sparked buying activities. Also, the open arbitrage between Shanghai and London led to more cargos inflow,” said He Tianyu, a copper analyst at CRU Group.
Moreover, tightening availability in the domestic market also sparked Chinese imports.
Shanghai Futures Exchange copper warehouse stocks dropped to a seven-month low of 31,205 tonnes on Aug. 19.