China reduces copper imports by 24 percent in first half

14 August 2006

Beijing, China, 14 Aug – China reduced its copper imports by 24 percent in the first six months of 2006, due to increased prices of the metal on the international market, Spanish news agency Efe reported.

China, which is the world’s largest importer of copper and its second largest producer, imported 1.15 million tons of the metal in the first half, which is a fall of 24 percent in relation to the total amount imported in the same period of 2005.

Chinese economists, quoted by Chinese news agency Xinhua, said that the cost of copper on the international market “is much higher” than prices on the Chinese market.

Currently, a ton of copper costs between 3,900 and 4,700 euros, while four years ago it was priced at less than 1,200 euros per ton.

According to specialists, this price difference has reduced the enthusiasm of importers and speculators, after in 2005 copper prices rose to all-time highs driven by increased Chinese imports.

Analysts have said that a fall in Chinese imports could particularly affect country’s such as Chile, which is the world’s largest copper producer and which ahs China as its main export market.

In June, China’s largest copper foundries announced a plan to reduce production by 10 percent as a way of protesting against reduced customs taxes applied to foreign suppliers. (macauhub)