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China May copper imports slide 4.6% y/y on soft demand

China’s copper imports slid 4.6% in May from a year ago, customs data showed on Wednesday, as soft demand amid a shaky economic recovery in the world’s top metal consumer dampened buying appetite while domestic production remained high.

Imports of unwrought copper and copper products totalled 444,010 tonnes in May, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.
The metal, including anode, refined, alloy and semi-finished copper, is used widely in construction, transportation and power sectors.

Strong cable and wire production last month following increased government investment in the power sector bolstered copper consumption, while the production of copper tube, rod and foil slowed, said China Futures analysts in a note on June 4.

The macro-economic backdrop also weighed on copper prices last month, including the U.S. debt ceiling negotiations and China’s data showing contracting manufacturing activities and falling industrial profits.

The benchmark copper contract on the London Metal Exchange CMCU3 posted its biggest monthly drop in May since June 2022.

Copper imports in the first five months of 2023 totalled 2.14 million tonnes, down 11% from the corresponding period last year, the data showed.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Siyi Liu and Dominique Patton; Editing by Kim Coghill and Rashmi Aich)

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