China’s copper concentrate imports in November were up by 27pc from the same period prior year, on low treatment and refining charges (TC/RCs) for concentrates in the last quarter of 2019.
China imported 2.16mn mt of copper concentrate in November, up by 459,226mt from 1.7mn mt imported in the prior year. Chile shipped 777,293mt of copper concentrate to China, up by 30pc from last November, followed by Peru which shipped 542,152mt copper concentrate, up by 3.6pc from a year ago. Copper concentrate shipments from Australia to China increased by 48pc to 119,819mt from 80,977mt last November, while shipments from Mongolia dropped by 3pc to 108,939mt.
China’s top copper smelters, who account for 70pc of China’s copper production, faced a drop in TC/RC rates in the last quarter of 2019, causing smelter margins to come under pressure. Hence, the China Smelters Purchase Team decided to cut copper production in their quarterly meeting late last week, despite China having built surplus smelting capacity. TC/RCs rates have dipped as many copper smelters are chasing limited mine supplies. China is also facing a shortage of raw materials such as copper scrap and copper blisters.
From Jan-Nov, China imported 20mn mt of copper concentrate, up by 10pc from 18.2mn mt imported in the same period prior year.