Copper exports from the US rose by 10.3pc in the first quarter to 208,533.88mt compared to 189,038.16mt in Q1 2020, according to the US Census Bureau’s data. In March, copper exports increased by 20.4pc to 77,167.55mt from 64,090.74mt in the same prior-year month.
The overall growth in copper exports in March was led by shipments to China, which stood at 6,090.34mt, followed by South Korea at 3,941.41mt, Malaysia at 1,916.24mt, Germany at 1,532.81mt, and Japan at 1,068mt. Mexico was the only country in the Americas to import US copper scrap tallying at 374.88mt.
The shift in China’s policy towards copper scrap saw refined copper shipments growing 51pc to 63,535.16mt in Q1 2021 compared to 42,055.99mt in the same quarter last year and #2 copper exports increasing by 7.3pc to 27,905.79mt against 26,016.15mt in the same period. Bare Bright and #1 copper both reported declines, with exports of these grades dropping by 14.4pc and 24.2pc to 15,994.55mt and 12,249.55mt, respectively, in the quarter under comparison.
In March too, exports of refined copper and #2 copper grew by 71.1pc and 25.6pc to 24,796.51mt and 9,921.27mt, respectively, against the same month last year while bare bright and #1 copper declined by 5.5pc and 2.5pc to 5,750.99mt and 5,454.27mt, respectively.
Copper imports by the US increased by 19.8pc in the first quarter to 25,386.50mt against 21,199.36mt in Q1 2020. In March, copper imports increased by 29.9pc to 9,693.19mt from 7,464.20mt in the same month last year. The US mostly imported refined copper and other copper scrap during the quarter and in March.