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China’s copper imports fall to 2012 low on Chilean strike

Keywords: Tags  China imports, copper, aluminum, imports, Cheng Sijin, Barclays Bank, Antofagasta port

SHANGHAI — China’s copper imports dropped to their lowest level this year in October due to supply disruptions in Chile and unfavorable arbitrage.

The country’s unwrought copper and copper fabricated product imports reached 321,879 tonnes last month, down 18.5 percent from September and off 16.1 percent from a year earlier, according to preliminary customs data.

A strike at Chile’s Antofagasta port caused shipment delays to China, as well as Europe, according to market participants.

"While the import arbitrage was unattractive in late September before improving in October, supply problems in Chile—which accounts for around 40 percent of Chinese copper imports—likely exacerbated the slump," Cheng Sijin, an analyst at London-based Barclays Bank Plc, said from Singapore.

She estimated that refined copper shipments fell to between 230,000 and 240,000 tonnes last month.

The country’s imports of unwrought aluminum and aluminum fabricated products reached 101,174 tonnes in October, down 1.1 percent from a month earlier but up 68.1 percent year on year.

A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.

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