BEIJING (Scrap Monster): China copper imports in March advanced sharply by 80% year-on-year while its zinc imports declined sharply by 32% year-on-year, as per latest Chinese trade data.
According to the data, country's refined copper imports at 346 Kilo tons (Kt) were almost 80% higher y/y as had been indicated by the preliminary data. What this data set revealed however was that exports which were almost 40x higher than in February. Total refined copper exports in March were 27Kt, the highest level since April 2011, with most of it going to South Korea and Singapore.
Ironically, despite this sequential surge in exports, copper exports were actually down by 28% y/y. That is because this time a year ago exports were also high due to the LME backwardation.
Chinese Zinc concentrate imports fell by 32% year-on-year to the lowest since November 2008. Analyst with Barclays said that, they are surprised by the weakness in zinc concentrate imports but suspect that it reflects a build in domestic inventory and weaker refined production due to maintenance.