Chinese appetite for No. 2 copper scrap grows

Jun 14, 2011 | 12:23 PM | Meredith Mazzilli

Tags  michael jansen, jpmorgan chase, copper scrap exports, commerce department, no. 1, no. 2, bare bright, copper scrap Meredith Mazzilli

NEW YORK — China’s demand for certain grades of U.S. copper scrap is expected to continue rising after four months of solid gains since the start of the year, domestic market participants said.

Chinese intake of No. 2 copper scrap from U.S. suppliers has increased steadily this year, growing to 18,717 short tons in April, according to the most recent U.S. Commerce Department data, up 2.6 percent from 18,235 tons the previous month and 28.4 percent higher than January’s 14,582 tons.

High copper cathode prices and an unfavorable arbitrage between the Shanghai Futures Exchange and overseas markets has slowed China’s cathode buying. Copper cathode is still historically expensive, averaging around $4.28 per pound since the beginning of the year, but falling terminal market prices from an all-time high of some $4.60 per pound in mid-February has encouraged an increase in scrap buying. ....

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