China Copper Imports.

Monday, 18 April 2011 06:50

China’s imports of unwrought and semi-finished copper fell by 15.6 % in the first quarter of 2011 from the same period last year. Many predict Chinese demand for copper will return potentially growing by 6 % in 2011, and global copper supply shortfalls will continue to support historically high prices.

China’s demand for copper boomed driven by construction, infrastructure and manufacturing over the last 10 years. China’s copper mines produce only 6 % of global production yet it is considered the world’s leading copper smelter 24 % of global total, refiner 23 % and fabricator of semi-finished copper goods and alloys 30 %.

While the rest of the world’s use of primary copper and copper scrap has fallen in the past decade, China’s increasing consumption has more than made up the difference. Its share of global refined copper usage rose from 11 % to nearly 40 %. China currently makes up for about 36 % of copper’s global end usage.

China is the leading importer of copper ores and concentrates as well as refined copper. Yet its dependence on outside sources has made it vulnerable to supply chain risks and rising international prices. As China’s imports have risen its costs have risen much faster hence adding economic strain for businesses and the state.