Copper Prices Rise Due to Increased Chinese Imports

Last week, customs released data indicating that the imports of copper into China in the month of March increased by 25%. The General Administration of Customs revealed that the March arrivals of unwrought copper and products added up to 552,317 tons — an increase of about 111,000 tons compared with last year’s March imports.

Last month, the manufacturing sector of China grew at a faster pace than anticipated, which saw activity in the construction sector grow as well, amid warmer temperatures. According to data obtained from Reuters, China’s copper imports for first-quarter 2021 added up to an estimated 1,440,000 tons, which is an 11.9% year-on-year increase, in addition to being the highest amount recorded in Q1 since 2008.

Last month’s imports of partially processed copper ore, or copper concentrate, were 2,170,000 tons while on a general scale, imports had grown by 20.5% in February and 22% from last year’s figures of 1.8 million tons and 1.779 million tons, respectively. The data also showed that shipments of copper concentrate in the first quarter rose by 7.4%, totaling 5.96 million tons. This is the highest amount of copper concentrate shipments to be recorded in over a decade.

Analysts are of the opinion that the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Chile, which is the top producer of copper, combined with the possible reduction of credit growth in China, will not affect copper futures even in the long-term.

In the recent weeks, copper stockpiles in warehouses monitored by exchanges in Shanghai and London have increased, which also helps ease concerns over short supply. Since late February, inventories tracked by the London Metal Exchange have almost tripled while records show that shares on the Shanghai Futures Exchange have risen for nine weeks through the month of April. This is the longest run recorded since nearly a decade ago.

However, some are concerned that China’s need for foreign copper may slowly be declining. A measure of import demand in China called the Yangshan copper premium has decreased by over 40%.

ED&F Man Capital Markets’ Ed Meir stated in an interview that as more economies emerge from the pandemic, the decline may be a precursor to a wider plateau in the metal’s demand. Additionally, any resurgence of COVID-19 cases may result in more lockdowns, which could impact the copper market. Chile recently announced that it would be keeping its borders closed this month because of the increase in coronavirus cases.

Despite the uncertainty triggered by the resurgence of the pandemic in different parts of the world, many mining companies, including Asia Broadband Inc. (OTC: AABB), are pressing ahead with their production, supply as well as sales programs for the minerals they focus upon.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Asia Broadband Inc. (OTC: AABB) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/AABB

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