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China copper imports fall in August as demand slows
HONG KONG |
HONG KONG (Reuters) - China's August copper imports fell 2.9 percent from the previous month, preliminary customs data showed on Monday, reversing July's uptrend as the economic slowdown in the world's top consumer of the metal cut demand.
The slight decline was in line with importers' expectations as most Chinese buyers did not place spot orders in August.
Arrivals of anode, refined metal, alloy and semi-finished copper products totaled 355,856 tonnes in August, the second-lowest this year. In July, the amount was 366,548 tonnes.
"The data was a slight fall and reflected that demand in China did not change much in July and August," Zhang Ao, analyst at Minmetals Futures said. "The small decline could be a result of shipment schedules."
August's copper imports are 4.5 percent higher than a year earlier, largely because importers had signed contracts for more term shipments this year than last year, Zhang said.
Demand, however, has not picked up so far as the economic slowdown, and a weak property sector, reduced purchases for home appliances such as air-conditioners that used copper tubes.
"We received about the same amount of copper in August as July even though demand for our product was not good," said a purchaser for a large firm which uses refined copper, the most popular type in the Chinese and international markets.
Traders had hoped demand for copper wires and cables would get a boost from the government by the end of August as it expands infrastructure spending, but the amount of orders placed by the state has so far fallen below expectations.
In an indication of weaker demand in August, bonded refined copper stocks in Shanghai rose to about 650,000 tonnes in early September from about 620,000 tonnes a month earlier, traders estimated.
The stocks traded at premiums of $30 to $80 over the cash London Metal Exchange prices last week, down from $50 to$80 late in July, traders said.
(Editing by Miral Fahmy)
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