Copper price up as Chinese imports surge

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Copper price was up again on Monday as customs data showed China’s imports rose 4.7% for the first two months of 2021 from a year earlier, indicating stronger demand for the metal.

May contracts rose 0.02% to $4.098 per pound ($9,015.6 per tonne) by midday in New York.

Click here for an interactive chart of copper prices

Arrivals of unwrought copper and products into China were 884,010 tonnes in January and February combined, up from 844,723 tonnes a year earlier, the General Administration of Customs said.

Chile copper export revenue surged 65% in February

Activity in China’s manufacturing sector, a key copper consumer, rose less than expected in January and February as a slight resurgence in covid-19 cases led to renewed restrictions.

China’s imports of copper concentrate, or partially processed copper ore, totalled 3.79 million tonnes for the two months, up 0.9% year-on-year.

High waves at ports in top copper producer Chile disrupted exports of concentrate and copper metal for most of January, while a 14.5% year-to-date rise in copper prices, which hit a 9-1/2 year high of $9,617 a
tonne on Feb. 25, is set to hurt consumption.

Chile saw revenue from the export of the red metal surge in February, the central bank said on Monday. Copper exports jumped 65% over the same period the previous year to $3.879 billion, the bank data showed.

According to the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association, the price spike could leave China, which brought in a record amount of copper in 2020, having to pay an extra $20 billion for its imports this year.

(With files from Reuters)

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