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Great developments recorded by China’s copper industry

Activity levels within China’s non-ferrous metals industry remained stable in the first quarter of 2022. Production of 10 non-ferrous metals totalled 16.173 million tons for a year-on-year increase of 0.9% while imports and output of the main non-ferrous metals increased by 2%. Industry enterprises’ income reached Yuan 1855 billion to give a year-on-year increase of 24.4%.

Great developments were recorded by the copper industry. Firstly, output of refined copper reached 2.644 million tons in the first quarter for a year-on-year increase of 6.1%, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics. Copper output of 4.825 million tons equated to an increase of 5.7% year on year.

Secondly, inventories were lower. According to Shanghai Steel Union data, the copper inventory at the end of March amounted to 124,000 tons, a year-on-year decrease of 60.8% to what constitutes a low level for recent years.

Thirdly, prices were higher. According to statistics from the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association, copper’s spot price average in the first quarter was Yuan 71,672 per ton, up 14.4% year on year.

And lastly, imports showed an increase. According to General Administration of Customs data, imports of copper concentrate climbed 6.7% year on year to 6.35 million tons in the first quarter while value was 12.7% higher at US$ 13.83 billion. Imports of unwrought copper and copper products totalled 1.473 million tons (+2.6% year on year) and the value was US$ 12.17 billion (+22.2%).