tightness in Chinas copper scrap supply is gradually
alleviating in the fourth quarter, supported by a steady rise
in imports as customs checks ease.
Copper scrap imports
rose to 394,585 tonnes in September, the highest monthly level
thus far this year and the third straight month of increases,
according to preliminary customs data. The volume was also 3.3
percent higher than August, but was still down 14 percent year
"Copper scrap imports
are increasing from August, releasing some supply pressure,"
one copper scrap trader told AMM sister publication
Metal Bulletin. "Due to low recovery rates from
domestic copper scrap, supply is largely dependent on imports.
Around 70 percent of copper scrap is coming from imports, and
this percentage is higher than in 2012."
participants attributed the higher import volumes to the
relaxation of Operation Green Fence imposed by Chinas
customs in February. This set much tighter thresholds for
importing cargoes and stepped up oversight of customs
A large amount of
copper scrap that had become stuck in the port awaiting
clearance surged into the market in September, lifting the
import data, sources said.
differential between scrap import and domestic copper prices
has dampened imports. Volumes are likely to remain at a
relatively low level until that changes significantly.
"As the copper scrap
price is much higher than copper cathode, with an average
deficit of around 1,500 yuan ($245) through September, demand
as well as imports of copper scrap will not rise
significantly," one copper scrap analyst said.
Import volumes through the first nine months of the year
fell 10.1 percent to 3.19 million tonnes.
A version of this
article was first published in AMM sister publication Metal