China June copper imports jump 15% on prior month

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China’s June copper imports rose 15.5 % from a month ago to 537,698 tonnes, customs data showed on Wednesday, after demand picked up following the lifting of covid-19 lockdowns that had hurt manufacturing activity.

The official manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) rose to 50.2 in June from 49.6 in May, the first time it rose above the 50-point mark that separates contraction from growth since February.

“Resumed factory production bolstered copper demand, while trade flows that had been hampered by epidemic-related logistics issues also became smoother,” said He Tianyu, CRU Group’s China copper demand analyst.

China is the world’s leading consumer of the metal, which is used in a range of sectors from electrical to construction and transport.

Copper imports were also buoyed by an open arbitrage window between Shanghai and London copper prices in May and June, according to He.

Imports of copper concentrate, or partially processed copper ore, was 2.06 million tonnes in June, down 5.9% from 2.19 the previous month, according to the customs data.

The country exported 607,443.40 tonnes of unwrought aluminum and aluminum products, including primary, alloy and semi-finished aluminum products, in June, down from May’s 676,604.6 tonnes.

(By Siyi Liu and Dominique Patton; Editing by Louise Heavens)

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