Copper eases after China imports drop y/y, factory price growth cools

Madiha Shakeel December 10, 2018

BEIJING: Copper eased in London and Shanghai on Monday, as customs data released over the weekend

showed a 3 percent year-on-year drop in unwrought copper imports by top consumer China, and Sino-U.S. trade tensions continued to weigh on prices.

Imports came in at 456,000 tonnes in November, down from 470,000 tonnes a year earlier but up 8.6 percent from October.

The year-on-year decline was “somewhat expected, with falling premiums in China reflecting some softness in demand after a period of strong restocking,” ANZ wrote in a note, adding that imports in November 2017 were “unseasonably high.”

Copper import premiums in China <SMM-CUYP-CN> are currently at $67.50 a tonne, having hit an 18-month low of $62.50 a tonne last week.

China’s copper concentrate imports fell 4.6 percent year-on-year to 1.699 million tonnes last month.

FUNDAMENTALS

* LME COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange slipped 0.5 percent to $6,114.50 a tonne by0703 GMT. The most-traded February copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed down 0.1 percent at 48,930 yuan ($7,118.85) a tonne.

* CHINA: China’s factory prices rose in November at their slowest pace since October 2016 as domestic demand lost further momentum, piling pressure on policymakers to unveil more measures to support the economy.

* VEDANTA: India’s environmental court said it will resume hearing Vedanta Ltd’s case on Monday to decide whether to re-open the company’s copper smelter, which was closed earlier this year after 13 people died when police fired on protesters.

* ALUMINIUM: China’s aluminium exports rose by 11.7 percent from October to 536,000 tonnes in November, the second-highest monthly total on record, after a higher export tax rebate on semi-finished products took effect on Nov. 1. ShFE aluminium closed up 0.6 percent at 13,635 yuan a tonne.

* ALUMINIUM: The U.S. International Trade Commission said on Friday it made a final determination that American producers were being harmed by imports of common alloy aluminium sheet products from China, a finding that locks in duties on the products.

* RUSAL: The U.S. Treasury has given investors until Jan. 21 to divest their holdings in sanctioned firms including EN+ Group, and United Company Rusal.

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MARKETS NEWS

* Losses in global stock markets snowballed on Monday, with U.S. equity futures and Asian shares sliding on worries over slowing growth and fears that a rise in tensions between Washington and Beijing could torpedo chances of a trade deal.

Copyright Reuters, 2018

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