US copper exports increased by 19pc to 520,732mt from January-July compared to 436,973mt in the same period last year, the latest US Census Bureau data indicated.
The data noted that US copper exports were led by a sharp incline in refined copper and #2 copper exports in the first seven months of the year as demand for these grades strengthened in the Asian region. From January-July, refined copper exports increased by 77pc to 162,971mt from 92,157mt in the same timeframe of 2020. Exports of #2 copper rose by 21pc to 65,660mt against 54,467mt in the same seven-month annual period, while #1 copper exports increased by 14pc to 37,038mt from 32,365mt.
In July, US copper exports increased by 5pc to 76,833mt against 73,467mt in the same month of 2020, led by shipments to China and South Korea, who remained the biggest buyers of copper scrap from the US. India also boosted its copper imports in July after COVID-19 related lockdowns in the country were lifted in the previous month.
Asian demand rises
US copper scrap cargoes to China increased in July to 5,484mt against 4,216mt in the previous month as did cargoes to South Korea, which increased around four-fold to 2,164mt in July against 560mt in June this year.
Malaysia, which was the second-largest Asian importer of copper scrap from the US in June, did not take any cargoes in July, owing to COVID-19 related lockdowns in the country. Japan’s copper imports from the US also softened in July to 513mt against 750mt in the previous month. On the other hand, India’s imports from the US more than doubled to 369mt compared to 166mt during the same period under comparison.
The only countries outside of Asia to have any significant copper scrap cargoes from the US were Germany, which imported 937mt of copper scrap in July, up from 519mt in June, and Belgium which bought 893mt of copper scrap from the US against 218mt in the same timeframe.
Bare bright was the least bought material in July, with exports of this grade falling by 36pc to 5,200mt against 8,110mt in the same period last year. Conversely, #1 copper was the most in-demand material with its exports more than doubling to 7,734mt from 3,715mt during the same timeframe.
The US exported 27,478mt of yellow brass (Honey) in January-July, up 12pc from 24,629mt in the same period last year. Exports of Honey in July, however, fell by 14pc to 4,125mt against 4,800mt in July 2020. Red brass exports in January-July grew by 10pc to 11,967mt from 10,922mt in the year-ago period, while the material’s exports in July tallied at 1,729mt, up 31pc from 1,318mt in the same month last year.
In January-July, the US imported 112,784mt of copper, up 83pc from 61,703mt in the same seven months of 2020. Imports in July jumped more than seven-fold to 58,143mt from 6,824mt in the year-ago month.